Agroecosystems

The educational materials listed on this page are about Agroecosystems.

What is agroecology? An agroecosystem is any ecosystem managed primarily for the production of food, fuel or fiber. Agroecology is the study of agricultural ecosystems and the natural resources required to sustain them. Ecological farming requires producers to work within their environmental limitations and use technology to address ecosystem constraints, and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Agroecological management enhances the sustainability of agricultural ecosystems by trying to work with the ecological relationships and processes within the broader ecosystem. Agroecology promotes the conservation of soil and organic matter, as well as other resources such as energy and water. Agroecosystems reflect diversity in the landscape, through crop/livestock integration and in marketing. They also seek to strengthen farmers and their communities by developing local agricultural knowledge and building ties among farmers and their consumers.

Key practices include the use of cover cropscrop rotationreduced tillagebuffer stripsrotational grazingseed saving and planting heirloom crops, and pasture and rangeland management

SARE's Systems Research for Agriculture provides helpful tips for farmers or researchers interested in agroecology research. SARE agroecology books such as Building Soils for Better CropsCrop Rotation on Organic Farms and Managing Cover Crops Profitably can help producers put agroecology in action. Rangeland Management Strategies features guidance on improving range for grazing. The SARE book Manage Insects on Your Farm: A Guide to Ecological Strategies describes how to control insect pests using a systems-level, agroecological approach.   

Showing 1-7 of 7 results

Cover Crops for Soil Health Workshop

All session recordings and slide presentations from this three-day professional development workshop are available online. Hosted by Northeast SARE and Delaware State University in March 2016, this event addressed the latest research on the benefits and successful management of cover crops in grain, vegetable and animal production systems.

New York Cover Crops Decision Tool

This is an online tool to help you quickly narrow the choices of cover crop for your situation. In a few seconds, you will have growing instructions for the cover crop that will do the job you need. Access the Cover Crops Decision Tool now. It is designed for the soil, climate, cropping practices and […]

Reading the Farm

Farm educators often  have in-depth knowledge of certain components of agriculture, but have few opportunities to see how these components work together to influence sustainability. Reading the Farm brings together educators and experts who share knowledge in the context of working, real-world farms. 

Beyond Black Plastic

This publication explores sustainable, organic mulches such as cover crops and no-till and reduced tillage systems as alternatives to black plastic mulch for weed control. The booklet includes a discussion of the impact of organic mulches on soil quality and fertility, weed control, yields and waste production, and profitability for small to mid-size vegetable operations. 

Native bees and flowering cover crops

While managed colonies of European honey bees are most frequently used for crop pollination, wild or native bees commonly provide the same pollination services for ‘free’ without the costs of renting or maintaining honey bee hives.

NOFA Handbooks

A series of eight handbooks for new farmers or established producers seeking to transition to organic or improve their current practices. Print only; order from Chelsea Green.