Agroecology and Sustainability of Production Systems
The course Agroecology Basics, 15 credits is recommended as prior study.
Additional course evaluations for LB0109
Academic year 2022/2023
Agroecology and Sustainability of Production Systems (LB0109-20071)
2022-11-01 - 2023-01-15
Academic year 2021/2022
Agroecology and Sustainability of Production Systems (LB0109-20051)
2021-11-02 - 2022-01-16
Academic year 2020/2021
Agroecology and Sustainability of Production Systems (LB0109-20088)
2020-11-02 - 2021-01-17
Academic year 2019/2020
Agroecology and Sustainability of Production Systems (LB0109-20006)
2019-11-01 - 2020-01-19
Syllabus and other information
LB0109 Agroecology and Sustainability of Production Systems, 15.0 CreditsAgroecology and Sustainability of Production Systems
SubjectsBiology Agricultural Science
Education cycleMaster’s level
Advanced study in the main fieldSecond cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirementsMaster’s level (A1N)
Prior knowledgeKnowledge equivalent to 120 credits, including 90 credits in one of the subjects/educational areas Social Science, Natural Science or Technology, and English 6.
ObjectivesThe aim is to provide applied and holistic understanding of agricultural production systems; how components and processes in production systems interact with each other and their surroundings. On completion of the course, students will be able to:
- Evaluate and discuss the productivity, sustainability, inputs and outputs in agroecosystems
- Explain and discuss different agroecological perspectives on the balance and interaction between crop and livestock production
- Describe and explain how farming interacts with the diverse environmental, social, economic and institutional dimensions of sustainable development in agriculture and food systems
- Identify, evaluate and propose solutions to problems relevant to the individual production system, i.e. a farm.
ContentThe course introduces students to agroecological principles and perspectives on production systems via case studies, lectures, scientific literature, student-led seminars, study visits and student assignments performed individually and in groups. Work with farm cases is an important pedagogic component. Students will be trained in how to describe and explain the interactions between farming practices and the social-ecological conditions that influence the sustainability of agricultural production in a holistic food system context.
The course explores the roles of ecological principles and processes such as competition, diversity, facilitation, nutrient cycling and trophic interactions for the functioning and resource use efficiency of production systems. Students will use agroecological concepts and tools to investigate how production components such as crops, animals, soil, technological equipment, infrastructural settings, economic and social settings, cultural norms and other formal or informal institutions interact and influence decision-making and production conditions in the studied systems. Students will also be introduced to different frameworks and methods to evaluate the sustainability of agricultural production systems.
The course will deal with fundamental agronomic production issues in agroecological contexts, with focus on ecosystem services related to crop production, soil processes such as soil fertility building, nutrient cycles and sustainable pest management. Design of diverse and multifunctional systems will be discussed in terms of environmental, economic and social sustainability.
Scheduled seminars, study visits and presentations are mandatory.
Formats and requirements for examinationTo obtain the course credits, a pass in the written examination and assignment work, plus approved participation in compulsory course components will be required. If a student fails a test, the examiner may give the student a supplementary assignment, provided this is possible and there is reason to do so.
If a student has been granted targeted study support because of a disability, the examiner has the right to offer the student an adapted test, or provide an alternative form of assessment.
If this course is discontinued, SLU will decide on transitional provisions for the examination of students admitted under this syllabus who have not yet been awarded a Pass grade.
For the assessment an independent project (degree project), the examiner may also allow a student to add supplemental information after the deadline for submission. For more information, please refer to the Education Planning and Administration Handbook.
- If the student fails a test, the examiner may give the student a supplementary assignment, provided this is possible and there is reason to do so.
- If the student has been granted special educational support because of a disability, the examiner has the right to offer the student an adapted test, or provide an alternative assessment.
- If changes are made to this course syllabus, or if the course is closed, SLU shall decide on transitional rules for examination of students admitted under this syllabus but who have not yet passed the course.
- For the examination of a degree project (independent project), the examiner may also allow the student to add supplemental information after the deadline. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.
Other informationThe right to take part in teaching and/or supervision only applies to the course instance which the student has been admitted to and registered on.
If there are special reasons, the student may take part in course components that require compulsory attendance at a later date. For more information, please refer to the Education Planning and Administration Handbook.
Additional informationThe course uses concepts and skills that are taught and trained in the course Agroecology Basics. It is therefore recommended, although not a formal prerequisite, that students take Agroecology Basics prior to this course.
Department of Biosystems and Technology
LB0109: Agroecology and Sustainability of Production Systems, 2022-2023
Recommended literature related to specific date and lecture (There could be few changes in lecture schedule and literature list before the course starts)
Sustainability and challenges for agriculture
Gliessman 2015 (chapters 22-23), Rockström et al. 2009, Steffen et al. 2015, Wezel 2017
Cropping systems and food diversification
Hufnagel et al. 2020
Transition to agroecology
Geels and Schot, 2007, IPES-Food, 2016
Ecosystem services to and from agricultural systems
Bommarco et al. 2013, Van Huylenbroeck et al. 2007
Integrated weed management
Buhler 2002, Gliessman 2015 (chapter 11)
Soil, quality, fertility and health
Robinson et al. 2013
Ecological mechanisms of ecosystem services
Bommarco et al. 2013, Isbell, 2017
Sustainability assessment tools, including TAPE
FAO 2013 (SAFA), FAO 2019 (TAPE), Schader et al. 2014, Pelzer et al. 2017
Beneficial biotic interactions and nutrient cycling
Gliessman 2015 (chapters 3, 8, 9, 11), Bedoussac et al 2015, Steffen et al. 2015
Wilson et al. 2016
Agriculture’s climate impact and sustainability in a food system perspective
Poore and Nemecek 2018, Röös et al. 2016
Integrated pest management
Hokannen and Menzler-Hokkanen 2020
Social aspects in livestock
Crop and livestock production
Algers, 2011, Gliessman 2015 (chapter 19)
Agricultural/rural development policies
European commission (CAP), Wästfelt 2018 (chapter 9)
Markets and welfare
Eriksen 2010, Gliessman 2015 (chapter 24), Morse 2010
Global production and trade
Urban and peri-urban agriculture
Benis and Ferrao 2018, Olsson 2018 (chapter 14)
Ethical issues in agriculture
Course literature LB0109, Agroecology and Sustainability of Production Systems, 2022-2023
FAO, 2013. *SAFA Guidelines, *Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems. Version3.0. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/nr/sustainability/sustainability-assessments-safa/en/
Gliessman, S.R., 2015. Agroecology: the ecology of sustainable food systems. 3rd ed. CRC Press. (Course textbook, 405 p)
Morse, S., 2010. Sustainability. A biological perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. **Chapter 5: **Socio economic dimensions of sustainability.
Olsson E.G.A., 2018. Routledge handbook of landscape and food. Chapter 14: Peri-urban food production as means towards urban food security and increased urban resilience. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315647692
Wästfelt, A., 2018. Routledge handbook of landscape and food. **Chapter 9: Shifts in agriculture praxis: farm modernization and global integration. **https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315647692
Articles and reports
Algers, B., 2011. Animal welfare – recent developments in the field. CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, 6 (010), 1-10.
Benis, K and Ferrao, P.2018. Commercial farming within the urban built environment- Taking stock of an evolving field in northern countries. Global food security,y 17:30-37
Bedoussac, L. et al., 2015. Ecological principles underlying the increase of productivity achieved by cereal-grain legume intercrops in organic farming. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 35, 911-935.
Bommarco, R., et al., 2013. Ecological intensification: harnessing ecosystem services for food security. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 28, 230–238.
Buhler, D.D., 2002. Challenges and opportunities for integrated weed management. Weed Science, 50, 273-280.
Eriksen, H. T., 2010. Small places, large issues. London: Pluto Press. Chapter 12: Exchange and consumption, and chapter 13: Production, nature and technology (pages 184-219).
European Commission. The Common agricultural policy (CAP) at a glance. https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/key-policies/common-agricultural-policy/cap-glance_en
FAO., 2001. Ethical issues in food and agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
FAO, 2019. Tool for agroecology performance evaluation (TAPE)-process of development and guidelines for application: Test version. http://www.fao.org/policy-support/tools-and-publications/resources-details/en/c/1257355/
Geels, F.W. and Schot, J., 2007. Typology of sociotechnical transition pathways. Research Policy, 36, 399-417
Hokannen, H.M.T. and Menzler-Hokkanen, I., 2020. Improving the efficacy of biological control by ecostacking. In Y.Gao et al. (eds), Integrative Biological Control, 3-16. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-44838-7_1
Hufnagel, J., et al. 2020. Diverse approaches to crop diversification in agricultural research. A review. *Agronomy for sustainable development *40 (14)
IPES-Food., 2016. From uniformity to diversity: a paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems. International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food systems. (section 2 and 3b) http://www.ipes-food.org/_img/upload/files/UniformityToDiversity_FULL.pdf
Isbell, F., 2017. Benefits of increasing plant diversity in sustainable agroecosystems. Journal of Ecology, 105, 871-879.
Pelzer, E. et al., 2017. Design, assessment and feasibility of legume-based cropping systems in three European regions Crop & Pasture Science, 68, 902-914.
Poore, J. and Nemecek, T., 2018. Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science, 360, 987–992.
Robinson, D.A. et al., 2013. Natural capital and ecosystem services, developing an appropriate soils framework as a basis for valuation. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 57, 1023-1033.
Rockström, J. et al., 2009. Planetary boundaries: exploring the safe operating space for humanity. Ecology and Society 14(2):32
Röös, E. et al., 2016. Limiting livestock production to pasture and by-products in a search for sustainable diets. Food Policy, 58, 1-13.
Schader, C. et al., 2014. Scope and precision of sustainability assessment approaches to food systems. Ecology and Society 19(3):42-
Steffen et al., 2015. Planetary Boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet. Science 347 (issue 6223).
Wilson, H.M., et al., 2016. Agroforestry-The next step in sustainable and resilient agriculture. Sustainability 8, 754
van Huylenbroeck, G. et al., 2007. Multifunctionality of agriculture: a review of definitions, evidence and instruments Living Reviews in Landscape Research, 1, 1–38.