My favorite paper of the week… are actually two: “Interactive effects among ecosystem services and management practices on crop production: Pollination in coffee agroforestry systems” and “Ten principles for a landscape approach to reconciling agriculture, conservation, and other competing land uses”.

Both papers come from a very interesting special feature in PNAS: “Agricultural
Innovation To Protect The Environment”. All the papers in the feature are worth
reading and it was hard to choose only one paper so I decided to choose two.

 

The first one is:

Boreux, V., Kushalappa, C.G., Vaast, P., Ghazoul, J. (2013) Interactive effects among ecosystem services and management practices on crop production: Pollination in coffee agroforestry systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. link.

 

The paper by Boreux et al. is very interesting as it highlights the complexities between bees and the pollination services provided to coffee in India. Aspects related to management of the crop are commonly ignored when trying to enhance pollination services. Instead, most of the focus revolves around enhancing natural habitats surrounding the crop. Surprisingly, management factors such as irrigation, that lead to a synchronization of flowering might increase bee visits and hence pollination services. Counter-intuitively, more habitat might decrease pollination services.

This paper is a great example of how complex the mechanisms determining the flow of ecosystem services provided by agro ecosystems are. I think it is a good call for integrating management in the potential solutions to maximize ecosystem services provision.

The second paper:

Sayer, J., Sunderland, T., Ghazoul, J., Pfund, J.-L., Sheil, D., Meijaard, E., Venter, M., Boedhihartono, A.K., Day, M., Garcia, C., van Oosten, C., Buck, L.E. (2013) Ten principles for a landscape approach to reconciling agriculture, conservation, and other competing land uses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110, 8349-8356. link.

gives a comprehensive perspective on the necessary principles for a landscape approach to natural resources management — and approach that reconciles conservation and agricultural production. The paper represents a synthesis of current research and theories combined with a broad survey of practitioners. Ten principles are suggested to foster such reconciliation. It is remarkable how, for a landscape approach to work, very different and somehow disconnected disciplines are necessary. The principles range from and understanding of the system with multiples interconnected scales, its resilience and nonlinearities to multifunctionality concepts from the EU CAP or institutional commons management concepts/ property rights in line with E. Ostrom’s line of work.

I see this paper as both a roadmap for the approaches needed for the reconciliation of biodiversity conservation and food production and as a thought-provoking piece that invokes a management of resources from a multiple adaptive fashion that includes all the actors involved and the complexity of the system.

Anyway, it is hard for me to make justice to the special feature, I recommend going there and reading them directly.

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