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Home > Activities > Research > agroBIODIVERSITY > Implementation activities

Implementation activities

© INRA Florence Carreras


Implementation of the agroBIODIVERSITY scientific strategy involves interdisciplinary collaboration between geneticists, ecologists, anthropologists, and economists, to cross disciplinary, ecosystem and science-policy and research-action boundaries. This collaboration seeks to establish an international network with the objective of providing long-term effective governance and protection for agricultural and wild biodiversity based on solid scientific guidance.

Innovative methods for data handling and analysis across disciplines are required, as are protocols for integrating formal and informal knowledge. Workshops, publications, and projects by international networks of scientists have resulted in various scientific products (more on resources) that increase useful knowledge for a variety of stakeholder groups. Scientific publications and workshops are agroBIODIVERSITY's main communication tools.

The activities undertaken by agroBIODIVERSITY are:

  • Establish international networks and organise workshops that promote interdisciplinary research and capacity building among researchers involved in biodiversity science in agricultural landscapes

  • Assemble and synthesise current knowledge, and conduct reviews for various types of workshops and publications

  • Develop approaches and methods for assessing biodiversity and best-practice management strategies in agricultural landscapes, involving local stakeholders

  • Develop and conduct research projects that link the biophysical and socioeconomic sciences in order to create new knowledge that supports decisions for biodiversity use and conservation in agricultural landscapes

  • Produce synthetic outcomes of research activities and promote the development of policy-relevant materials related to the sustainable use of biodiversity

These activities have been undertaken mostly in a core agroBIODIVERSITY project that assesses benchmark agricultural landscapes on four continents, several other research projects, and capacity building events, as well as by producing a rich publication record and participating to many international fora and other meetings and discussions (see news archive for an overview).


Assessment and Adaptive Management of Biodiversity in Agricultural Landscapes: a Global Perspective

This is the core project of agroBIODIVERSITY. It applies an integrated landscape approach in eight agricultural landscapes worldwide that represent a wide range of socioeconomic conditions and different levels of agricultural intensification (see Fig below). Each benchmark landscape includes examples of biodiversity-friendly management, aimed at simultaneously supporting sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation.

The integrated landscape approach is applied to consider interactions between mosaics of crop production areas and natural habitats and set sustainable management of biodiversity in a social-ecological framework. It builds upon local experiences and participatory experimentation within diversified production systems.


The project aims at:

  1. developing approaches for participatory and social-ecological research on biodiversity utilisation and conservation in agricultural landscapes;
  2. assessing biophysical and socioeconomic tradeoffs and synergies in biodiversity-friendly landscape management; and
  3. comparing these interactions along gradients of agricultural intensification, to increase multiple ecosystem services across landscape mosaics.

A key output of the project is a publication developed by the SC-agroBIODIVERSITY members and researchers at the eight sites that deals with a cross-site analysis of biodiversity, livelihood assets and adaptive landscape management for ecological intensification of agriculture (Jackson et al. 2012).

Focus on the eight landscapes

  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functions in an Agricultural Landscape of the Sacramento Valley, California

This is a multi-scale set of projects focusing on plant and soil biodiversity (gene, ecosystem and landscape-level analysis) along a gradient of agricultural intensification, with policy implications for climate change. It is led by  Louise E. Jackson of University of California Davis, USA, spans the period 2010-2015 and is funded by the Kearney Foundation of Soil Science

The other 7 projects?

Researchers [usually we only put the coordinator(s) with email contact. Is it also possible here, please?]

Mirjam Pulleman, Wageningen University; Louise E. Jackson, University of California; Kamaljit S. Bawa, University of Massachussetts Boston & ATREE India; George G. Brown, Empraba Florestas, Brazil; Lijbert Brussaard, Wageningen University; Irene Cardoso, Federal University of Vicosa; Louis E. Garcia-Barrios, Colegio de la Frontera Sur; Elisee Ouedragogo, Centre Ecologique Albert Schweitzer; Unai Pascual, Cambridge University; R. Siddappa Setty, ATREE India; and Meine van Noordwijk, ICRAF Indonesia.


[Are the projects below projects of the network or external projects that have just been endorsed by agroBIODIVERSITY (i.e. their scientific plan was acknowledged to contribute to the agroB science plan but the projects are not activities of the network specifically designed to implement the agroB science plan)? can you write endorsed next to the title when this is the case, please?]

Tree Biodiversity and Carbon Stocks in Vineyard and Woodland Ecosystems: Eligibility for Carbon Payments

This 2/3-year project (2010-2012) aimed at field and GIS assessments of plant communities and carbon in woody plants and soils in Mendocino County, California USA. Further, challenges for achieving rewards and recognition for conservation should be identified.

The project was funded by  Fetzer Vineyards and the California Energy Commission.


Louise E. Jackson, University of California Davis, USA


Soil Nutrient Dynamics and Biodiversity of Chiapas Tropical Dry Forest Hillsides

This project was implemented in 2010-2012 and analysed tree diversity and soil quality along riparian corridors in the La Sepultura Reserve Buffer Zone.

The project was funded by the  University of California MEXUS program.


Louise E. Jackson, University of California Davis, USA, and Louis E. Garcia-Barrios, Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Mexico


Can non-inversion tillage and field margins improve water storage in arable land through the stimulation of earthworm diversity?

The capacity of the soil to absorb and retain water becomes increasingly important and is emphasised as a key ecosystem service. Earthworms can play a crucial role in restoring the water infiltration and retention capacity of soil through their biological activity. The research linked non-productive landscape elements (field margins) with soil management strategies (non-inversion tillage) to earthworm populations and earthworm mediated processes with the aim to preserve ecosystem services.

The research was funded by the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, Wageningen University, and the Dutch Ministry for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality in 2009-2013 (PhD).


Lijbert Brussaard and Mirjam Pulleman, Wageningen University, the Netherlands (Steve Crittenden, PhD student, Wageningen University)


Agroforestry systems suitable as a key to develop sustainable landscape designs

In the Zona da Mata region, located in the Brazilian Atlantic Coastal Rainforest biome in Minas Gerais State, the agricultural practices adopted during decades caused environmental and social problems such as soil degradation, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and rural exodus. This project generated information on sustainable family agroecosystems combining nature conservation and agricultural production, and identified indicators linked with ecosystem services. The research drew special attention to agroforestry systems with coffee plants as a main crop in family farms.

The research was funded by the Brazilian Organization for the Promotion of Higher Education CAPES over the period 2006-2010.


Researchers: Helton Nonato de Souza (PhD candidate, Universidade Federal de Vicosa, Wageningen University), Lijbert Brussaard, Mirjam Pulleman, Ron de Goede (all Wageningen University), Irene M. Cardoso (Universidade Federal de Vicosa). [Please, select]


Capacity building

The agroBIODIVERSITY network community has engaged circa 50 senior scientists, including the SC-agroBIODIVERSITY, the lead researchers at the eight sites, and contributors to workshops who have helped with developing conceptual directions and writing scientific papers from 2008 to 2013. Another 30-50 early career scientists (including graduate students and postdocs) do research at the network sites, or have participated in exchange visits or in international workshops at the sites or conferences (e.g. Planet under Pressure 2012).

In June 2012, Meine van Noordwijk, Lijbert Brussaard, Peter de Ruiter and Louise Jackson contributed to a 4-day graduate course on Soil Ecology at Wageningen University. 31 PhD students and postdocs participated in the course.

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