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LB0120

The ecology of cropping systems

The course is based on ecological theory and how it affects the design of cropping and farming systems depending on socio-economic context. The course provides in-depth knowledge of ecological and technical factors that enable ecological intensification with the aim of improve the functioning of the system, increasing the efficiency of the use of natural resources, while reducing negative environmental impacts.


The cropping systems are discussed from a global perspective, including livestock integration, agroforestry and local food systems, with special references to the Swedish agricultural sector.


The multi-functionality of the cropping systems and conflicts between different goals and functions are discussed, especially in relation to the expected societal needs (including SDGs) and challenges from future scenarios.


Case studies and virtual excursions will be used as a method to cover a wide range of edaphoclimatic regions and cropping systems, but also to elucidate the role of different stakeholders in shaping cropping systems and the use of different technologies and practices. Among the stakeholders, farmers will be the focus, but their role will be balanced with the perspectives of other actors such as consumers, industry, advisers and authorities.


The course includes studies of methods for evaluating cropping systems and discussion on the integration of cropping systems into different socio-ecological systems.


The course is structured into themes that are introduced with lectures followed by exercises, literature seminars, and virtual reality excursions (to see cropping systems from other regions). A project work in which the students can define the topic themselves is included.


Information from the course leader

Course leader: Marcos Lana (marcos.lana@slu.se)

https://www.slu.se/en/ew-cv/marcos-lana/

Course evaluation

The course evaluation is now closed

LB0120-30294 - 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 LB0120

Academic year 2023/2024

The ecology of cropping systems (LB0120-30369)

2024-01-15 - 2024-03-19

Academic year 2022/2023

The ecology of cropping systems (LB0120-30084)

2023-01-16 - 2023-03-21

Syllabus and other information

Litterature list

  1. Climate-Smart Crop Production System Författare: FAO [Climate-Smart Crop Production System] (<Reading assignment 3: Climate Smart Agriculture>)1) The climate-smart village approach: framework of an integrative strategy for scaling up adaptation options in agriculture Författare: Aggarwall et al. [The climate-smart village approach: framework of an integrative strategy for scaling up adaptation options in agriculture] (https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-09844-230114) Kommentar: Reading assignment 3: Climate Smart Agriculture
  2. The overlooked spatial dimension of climate-smart agriculture Författare: Prestele, R. [The overlooked spatial dimension of climate-smart agriculture] (https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14940) Kommentar: Reading assignment 3: Climate Smart Agriculture
  3. Scaling up agricultural interventions: case studies of climate-smart agriculture Författare: Westermann et al. [Scaling up agricultural interventions: case studies of climate-smart agriculture] (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2018.07.007) Kommentar: Reading assignment 3: Climate Smart Agriculture
  4. Agroecology and the design of climate change-resilient farming systems Författare: Altieri, M.A. [Agroecology and the design of climate change-resilient farming systems] (https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-015-0285-2) Kommentar: Reading assignment 4: Agricultural systems in the tropics
  5. Achieving the Global Goals through agroforestry Författare: groforestry Network, Agroforestry Sverige, Focali, NIRAS, SIANI, SLU Global, SwedBio & Vi-skogen [Achieving the Global Goals through agroforestry] (http://agroforestrynetwork.org.hemsida.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Achieving-the-Global-Goals-through-agroforestry.pdf) Kommentar: Reading assignment 5: Agroforestry practices
  6. Advances in European agroforestry: results from the AGFORWARD project Författare: Burgess, P.J., Rosati, A. [Advances in European agroforestry: results from the AGFORWARD project] (https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-018-0261-3) Kommentar: Reading assignment 5: Agroforestry practices
  7. Which agroforestry options give the greatest soil and above ground carbon benefits in different world regions Författare: Feliciano, D., Ledo, A., Hillier, J., & Nayak, D. R. [Which agroforestry options give the greatest soil and above ground carbon benefits in different world regions] (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2017.11.032) Kommentar: Reading assignment 5: Agroforestry practices
  8. Agroforestry delivers a win-win solution for ecosystem services in sub-Saharan Africa. A meta-analysis Författare: Kuyah, S., Whitney, C.W., Jonsson, M. et al. [Agroforestry delivers a win-win solution for ecosystem services in sub-Saharan Africa. A meta-analysis] (https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-019-0589-8) Kommentar: Reading assignment 5: Agroforestry practices
  9. Environmental life cycle assessment of cereal and bread production in Norway Författare: Korsaeth, A. et al. [Environmental life cycle assessment of cereal and bread production in Norway] (https://doi.org/10.1080/09064702.2013.783619) Kommentar: Reading assignment 6: Assessment of Crop Production
  10. Ecology – the science of agriculture in the 21st century Författare: Weiner, J. [Ecology – the science of agriculture in the 21st century] (https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021859603003605) Kommentar: Reading assignment 1: Introduction to Crop Production Systems
  11. MASC, a qualitative multi-attribute decision model for ex ante assessment of the sustainability of cropping systems Författare: Sadok, W., Angevin, F., Bergez, J. et al. [MASC, a qualitative multi-attribute decision model for ex ante assessment of the sustainability of cropping systems] (https://doi.org/10.1051/agro/2009006) Kommentar: Reading assignment 6: Assessment of Crop Production
  12. The future of food and agriculture: Alternative pathways to 2050 Författare: FAO [The future of food and agriculture: Alternative pathways to 2050] (http://www.fao.org/3/CA1552EN/ca1552en.pdf) Kommentar: Reading assignment 7: Global and Future Perspectives of Land Use, Fossil and Biofuels and Agricultural Production
  13. Solutions for a cultivated planet Författare: Foley, J., Ramankutty, N., Brauman, K. et al. [Solutions for a cultivated planet] (https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10452) Kommentar: Reading assignment 7: Global and Future Perspectives of Land Use, Fossil and Biofuels and Agricultural Production
  14. OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2018-2027 Författare: OECD/FAO [OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2018-2027] (http://www.fao.org/3/CA0064en/CA0064en.pdf) Kommentar: Reading assignment 7: Global and Future Perspectives of Land Use, Fossil and Biofuels and Agricultural Production
  15. The water-land-food nexus of first-generation biofuels Författare: Rulli, M., Bellomi, D., Cazzoli, A. et al. [The water-land-food nexus of first-generation biofuels] (https://doi.org/10.1038/srep22521) Kommentar: Reading assignment 7: Global and Future Perspectives of Land Use, Fossil and Biofuels and Agricultural Production
  16. Agricultural sustainability: concepts, principles and evidence Författare: Pretty, J. [Agricultural sustainability: concepts, principles and evidence] (https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2007.2163) Kommentar: Reading assignment 1: Introduction to Crop Production Systems
  17. Applying plant ecological knowledge to increase agricultural sustainability Författare: Weiner, J. [Applying plant ecological knowledge to increase agricultural sustainability] (https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12792) Kommentar: Reading assignment 1: Introduction to Crop Production Systems
  18. Mixing plant species in cropping systems: Concepts, tools and models: A review Författare: Malézieux, E. et al. [Mixing plant species in cropping systems: Concepts, tools and models: A review] (https://doi.org/10.1051/agro:2007057) Kommentar: Reading assignment 2: Cropping systems in transition
  19. Break crops and rotations for wheat Författare: Angus J. F., Kirkegaard J. A., Hunt J. R., Ryan M. H., Ohlander L., Peoples M. B. [Break crops and rotations for wheat] (https://doi.org/10.1071/CP14252) Kommentar: Reading assignment 2: Cropping systems in transition
  20. Beyond conservation agriculture Författare: Giller, K. E., Andersson, J. A., Corbeels, M., Kirkegaard, J., Mortensen, D., Erenstein, O., & Vanlauwe, B. [Beyond conservation agriculture] (https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2015.00870) Kommentar: Reading assignment 2: Cropping systems in transition
  21. Productivity limits and potentials of the principles of conservation agriculture Författare: Pittelkow, C. M., Liang, X., Linquist, B. A., Van Groenigen, K. J., Lee, J., Lundy, M. E., ... & Van Kessel, C. [Productivity limits and potentials of the principles of conservation agriculture] (https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13809) Kommentar: Reading assignment 2: Cropping systems in transition
  22. Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report, Summary for policy makers. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Författare: IPCC, 2014 [Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report, Summary for policy makers. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] (https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/AR5_SYR_FINAL_SPM.pdf) Kommentar: Reading assignment 3: Climate Smart Agriculture

Course facts

The course is offered as an independent course: No Tuition fee: Tuition fee only for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens: 38054 SEK Cycle: Master’s level (A1N)
Subject: Agricultural Science Biology Agricultural science Biology
Course code: LB0120 Application code: SLU-30294 Location: Uppsala Distance course: No Language: English Responsible department: Department of Crop Production Ecology Pace: 100%