By Stephen R. Gliessman
Offering the theoretical and conceptual framework for this turning out to be box, 'Agroecology' develops the knowledge of environmental components and complexities affecting agricultural plants and animals. --Provided by way of publisher.
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Additional info for Agroecology: the ecology of sustainable food systems
Soon thereafter, however, researchers discovered a sorghum variety that carried resistance to the greenbugs. No one had known of the greenbug resistance, but it was there nonetheless. This variety was used to create a hybrid that was grown extensively and not eaten by greenbugs, making the use of pesticides unnecessary. Such pest resistance is common in domesticated plants, “hiding” in the genome but waiting to be used by plant breeders. As varieties are lost, however, the valuable genetic reservoir of traits is reduced in size, and certain traits potentially invaluable for future breeding are lost forever.
The principles and terms presented in this chapter will be applicable to our discussion of agroecosystems throughout this book. STRUCTURE OF NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS An ecosystem can be defined as a functional system of complementary relations between living organisms and their environment, delimited by arbitrarily chosen boundaries, which in space and time appear to maintain a steady yet dynamic equilibrium. An ecosystem thus has physical parts with particular relationships—the structure of the system— that together take part in dynamic processes—the function of the system.
This statistic indicates that the unequal distribution of food—which is both a cause and a consequence of global inequality—is at least as serious a problem as the threats to global food production. Since hunger, poverty, and inequality existed before the rise of industrial agriculture in the latter half of the 1900s, it is tempting to argue that global inequality is unrelated to industrial agriculture—that it has separate causes. While some causes are indeed separate, it is also true that industrial agriculture perpetuates and accentuates existing relationships of inequality.
Agroecology: the ecology of sustainable food systems by Stephen R. Gliessman