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Special Collection

Forum: New Pathways to Sustainability in Agroecological Systems

Collection launched: 12 Feb 2015
Guest Editors:

Ricardo J. Salvador, Director and Senior Scientist, Food and Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
V. Ernesto Méndez, Dept. of Plant and Soil Science & Environmental Program, University of Vermont

We welcome submissions of Research Articles, Policy Bridges, Practice Bridges, and Commentaries to this Forum


Agricultural systems of the future will need to withstand increasing challenges brought by climate change and much greater demands for limited resources: water, nutrients and energy. Research and creative collaborations among researchers, farmers, and other practitioners demonstrate new approaches to improve the function and resilience of plant- and animal-based agroecosystems. These approaches also increasingly examine how social dimensions of agrifood systems offer new opportunities to improve health, communities and livelihoods. This Elementa Forum invites researchers and practitioners to share their work addressing biophysical and socio-cultural questions, approaches and leverage points to help define pathways to sustainability in agroecological systems. The Forum launched with a Commentary by Matt Liebman and Lisa Shulte Moore of Iowa State University, presenting their work on the role of increased biodiversity and other agroecological approaches in improving farm productivity and landscape ecosystem services. Their analyses pose key questions to prompt other researchers and practitioners to share their ideas and work, including:

  • How does increased biodiversity affect ecological function and resilience? How can this information be used to promote crop productivity and build natural capital over the long term? What is the value of an agroecological approach to agriculture, such as increased crop and non-crop diversity, compared to other approaches?

  • What kinds of policies, informal governance structures and educational activities support the adoption of regenerative, diversified agroecological approaches?

  • What strategies can be employed to garner greater cooperation among scientists, farmers, and other stakeholders in answering these questions at farm, landscape, and regional scales?

  • We welcome additional submissions of Research Articles, Review Articles, Policy Bridges, Practice Bridges, and Commentaries that address these and related questions.

    Although Elementa has no page limit for submitted manuscripts, please find below broad guidance on page length for article types for this forum: