Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services into Future Farming

Harpinder Sandhu, Stephen Wratten, John Porter, Robert Costanza, Jules Pretty

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Agriculture has made remarkable advances in fulfilling the food and nutritional requirement of expanding human numbers worldwide. There are several sustainable farming systems that contribute to overall biodiversity conservation and associated ecosystem services. Yet agricultural practices that have come to predominate since the second half of the 20 th century have led to the overuse of fossil fuel-based inputs, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, and loss of biodiversity. These outcomes also have high costs to human health and the environment. Continuing with largely energy-intense, wasteful, polluting, and unsustainable agriculture is no longer a viable option for future world food security and human well-being. There is an urgent need for forms of agricultural production that improve natural capital and ecosystem services (ES) in food systems worldwide. Mainstreaming ES into future agriculture requires protocols to replace some of the nonrenewable resources (e.g. fossil fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers) with renewable resources (ES such as biological control of insect pests or nitrogen fixation by legumes). The protocols presented here have been tested in different agricultural systems that enable farmland to simultaneously provide food and a range of ecosystem services. Recent research demonstrates that managed systems with these protocols exhibit higher economic value of ecosystem services. Thus, there is need to support the deployment of these protocols through various policy mechanisms for the long-term sustainability of agriculture. Stefano Lubiana Sheep are employed to graze on headland between rows of planted grapes on a vineyard in southern Tasmania.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)40-47
    JournalSolutions-for a sustainable and desirable future
    Volume7
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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