Agroecology and Its Applications, from Marine Kelp to Mountain Coffee
Thursday, August 14, 2014: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
308, Sacramento Convention Center
Alex E. Racelis, University of Texas Pan American
Deborah K. Letourneau, University of California-Santa Cruz
Amidst a growing pressure to meet the food needs of a growing population, agriculturalists also face severe challenge of maintaining (or increasing) food production in the light of a changing climate, pollinator decline, and increasing dependence on fossil fuels, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Many agricultural areas--from the emerging aquaculture farms in the northeastern bays and waterways of the US, to coffee plantations the that populate the mountains the tropics, and even the fruit and vegetable producing areas of California--are associated with rich and unique diversity of biota, landscapes, and populations, and thus require management approaches that are considered environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. The field of agroecology in part aims to address these challenges by promoting science-based strategies and uncovering information necessary for meeting growing food demands while managing agroecosystems in ways that protect and promote both environmental integrity and socio-economic well-being.
But to what extent is agroecology actually helping agriculturalists and growers meet these challenges? This organized oral session aims to highlight recent practical applications of ecological research for promoting sustainable food production, addressing agricultural policy concerns, and improving educational engagement in food systems. Presenters in this session will to spend part of their presentation explaining the justification and/or broader impacts of their work as a way to convey to the audience some successful approaches and general heuristics to the application of agroecological research across various settings and circumstances. With a wide range of expertise and geographic range, this session will be of interest to a broad audience as all presentations emphasize how current ecological theory can be successfully applied in various agroecological settings to help orient efforts towards improved management of our ecosystems and the services they provide.