Ecological methods and principles form the foundation of agroecology. They are essential for determining (1) if a particular agricultural practice, input, or management decision is sustainable, and (2) the ecological basis for the functioning of the chosen management strategy over the long term.
an agroecological approach helps us explore the theoretical basis for developing models that can facilitate the design, testing, and evaluation of sustainable agroecosystems.
An agroecosystem is a site or integrated region of agricultural production — a farm, for example — understood as an ecosystem.
agroecological management, in contrast, begins with the farm system as a whole and designs interventions according to how they will impact the whole system, not just crop yield. Interventions may be intended to modify single factors, but the potential impact on other factors is always considered as well.
“the study of how groups of organisms interact in the cropping environment. This whole-system perspective stresses the need for understanding the emergent qualities of populations, communities, and ecosystems, and how these qualities are put to use in designing and managing sustainable agroecosystems.”