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Agroecology and Sustainability of Production Systems

Through working with case studies in practice this course facilitates students to get familiar with all aspects of farm systems and livelihoods. The aim is to well understand the interdependency as well as specific aspects of productivity and sustainability, crops and livestock, social, economic and institutional dimensions of small scale farming systems in a local and global perspective. By working with small holder cases from different countries and different ecological settings, the student will be exposed to different kind of agricultural systems that adapt to very different situations, socio-economically as well as ecologically.

The course Agroecology Basics, 15 credits is recommended as prior study.

Information from the course leader

Dear all,

Great that you have decided to take this course! A very warm Welcome to the course, Agroecology and Sustainability of Productions Systems, LB0109. Most of the lectures and course activities of LB0109 will take place on-site in Alnarp.

Please refer to the course's reading list and schedule on course website ( for the title, timing, room and teacher of the lecture and teaching activities. I do not expect much change to the schedule, but if there is any, I will inform to you in good time through announcement in Canvas.

On our first meeting which will be on 31 October, 13.15-16.00 hrs, in Articum 2, we will share information about course introduction and instructions for course.

Mati ( will be the course assistant, while Georg Carlsson ( will be the examiner of this course, and you will meet them on several occasions during the course.

I also put up a google sheet (see link below) and I request you to fill-in your name, educational background, skills and interests, etc. The information will help to know each other better and we shall try to benefit each other from our varied experiences and interests.

I am sure we will beat the dark boring winter months by having lively, inspiring and interesting course activities via stimulating student-student and student-teacher interactions.

I look forward to meeting you all in person; enjoy the time during the course, and to continue our interactions even after the course.

Best wishes,

Raj Chongtham

Mobile: 072 549 8812

Course evaluation

The course evaluation is now closed

LB0109-20008 - Course evaluation report

Once the evaluation is closed, the course coordinator and student representative have 1 month to draft their comments. The comments will be published in the evaluation report.

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

Litterature list

LB0109: Agroecology and Sustainability of Production Systems, 2023-2024

Recommended literature related to specific lecture (There could be few changes in lecture schedule and literature list before the course starts). We highly recommend students who have not taken Agroecology Basics course to read *Gleissman S.R, 2015. *Agroecology: the ecology of sustainable food systems. 3rd ed. CRC Press as it provides a foundation for understanding agroecology.


Lecture topic


01 Nov

Sustainability and challenges for agriculture

Rockström et al. 2009, Steffen et al. 2015, Wezel et al. 2015, Gliessman 2015 (chapters 22-23),

02 Nov

Ecological mechanisms of ecosystem services

Bommarco et al. 2013, Van Huylenbroeck et al. 2007, Isbell, 2017

02 Nov

Soil, quality, fertility and health

Robinson et al. 2013

03 Nov

Beneficial biotic interactions and nutrient cycling

Bedoussac et al 2015, Steffen et al. 2015, Gliessman 2015 (chapters 3, 8, 9, 11),

06 Nov


Wilson et al. 2016, Garibaldi et al. 2019

06 Nov

Sustainability assessment tools, including TAPE

FAO 2019 (TAPE), Schader et al. 2014, Pelzer et al. 2017

07 Nov

Integrated weed management

Buhler 2002, Harker and O’Donovan 2013

Agriculture’s climate impact and sustainability in a food system perspective

Poore and Nemecek 2018, Röös et al. 2016

13 Nov

Integrated pest management

Hokannen and Menzler-Hokkanen 2020

14 Nov

Global production and trade

15 Nov

Agroecological livestock production

Muller A, 2015

16 Nov

Social aspects in livestock

Algers, 2011

16 Nov

Urban and peri-urban agriculture

Benis and Ferrao 2018, Olsson 2018 (chapter 14)

16 Nov

Animal welfare

FAO, 2001

17 Nov

Agricultural/rural development policies

European commission (CAP), Wästfelt 2018 (chapter 9)

17 Nov

Markets and welfare

Eriksen 2010, Gliessman 2015 (chapter 24), Morse 2010

05 Dec

Ethical issues in agriculture

FAO, 2001

07 Dec

Transition to Agroecology

Geels and Schot, 2007, IPES-Food, 2016

In addition to this literature, most teachers also provide additional reading lists at the end of their presentation for those who want to learn further.

Course literature LB0109, Agroecology and Sustainability of Production Systems, 2023-2024

Compulsory reading

Books/book chapters

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.

Wästfelt, A., 2018. Routledge handbook of landscape and food. **Chapter 9: Shifts in agriculture praxis: farm modernization and global integration. **

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.

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.

Garibaldi et al. 2019. Policies for Ecological Intensification of Crop Production. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 34, 282-286.

Geels, F.W. and Schot, J., 2007. Typology of sociotechnical transition pathways. Research Policy, 36, 399-417

Harker, K.N and O’Donovan, J.T. 2013. Recent Weed Control, Weed Management, and Integrated Weed Management. Weed Technology 27, 1-11.

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.

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)

Muller A. 2015. The role of livestock in agroecology and sustainable food systems.

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.

Wezel, A. et al. 2015. The blurred boundaries of ecological, sustainable, and agroecological intensification: a review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 35, 1283-1295.

Course facts

The course is offered as an independent course: Yes The course is offered as a programme course: Agroecology - Master's Programme Food and Landscape Tuition fee: Tuition fee only for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens: 38060 SEK Cycle: Master’s level (A1N)
Subject: Agricultural Science Biology Agricultural science Biology
Course code: LB0109 Application code: SLU-20008 Location: Alnarp Distance course: No Language: English Responsible department: Department of Biosystems and Technology Pace: 100%