This book represents an interdisciplinary approach to the relevant aspects of agricultural production related to the interactions between natural processes, human activities and the environment. It provides condensed and comprehensive knowledge on the functions of various agroecosystems at the field, landscape and global scale. Understanding and integrating complex ecological processes into field production, land management and food systems is essential in order to deal with the challenges of modern crop and livestock production: the need for food security for the growing human population, and the necessity to combat the detrimental effects of food production on the environment. The book provides the scientific basis required by students and scientists involved in the development of sustainable agroecosystems and contributes to a range of disciplines including Agriculture, Biology, Geography, Landscape Ecology, Organic Farming, Biological Control, and Global Change Ecology.
Konrad Martin is biologist and agroecologist at the University of Hohenheim, Germany. His specific interests are animal-plant interactions and community ecology. He was involved in various international research projects in countries of Southeast Asia and conducted studies on biological pest control and food webs in agroecosystems, on insect diversity cultivated tropical landscapes, and on the effects of land use change on species interactions. Joachim Sauerborn studied agricultural sciences at the universities Giessen and Hohenheim, Germany. He conducted studies on weed ecology and agroecology in tropical and subtropical regions and spent a research period at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas in Aleppo, Syria. As a professor for agroecology at the University of Hohenheim, his main research is on land resources management in tropical regions. He has published several books and over 70 articles in refereed journals.
1 Introduction 1.1 Basic terms and overview of contents 2 Origin and development of agriculture 2.1 The first humans 2.2 The origins of agriculture 2.3 Progress and impacts of agriculture 2.4 Classification of agroecosystems 2.5 Livestock systems 3 Patterns and processes in ecosystems 3.1 Biotic interactions 3.2 Communities 3.3 Biodiversity 3.4 Succession 3.5 Flows of energy and material 3.6 Ecosystem services 3.7 Global material cycles 4 Crops and their environment 4.1 Radiation and energy 4.2 Water 4.3 Soil 4.4 Crop-associated flora 4.5 Phytophages 4.6 Phytopathogens 5 Management of unwanted organisms 5.1 Weed management 5.2 Pest management 5.3 Management of phytopathogens 6 Production and management of livestock resources 6.1 Grassland-based production systems 6.2 Environmental impacts of livestock production 7 Climate zones and land use 7.1 Global atmospheric circulation 7.2 Climate zones 8 Agroecological aspects of global change 8.1 Global change