Enhancing ecosystem services in Belgian agriculture through agroecology : a vision for a farming with a future
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Amsterdam :Elsevier, 2014
Ecosystem services : global issues, local practices. - Amsterdam, 2014
University of Antwerp
This chapter introduces the concept of ecosystem services in agriculture by classifying and comparing different types of farming. It distinguishes fossil-fuel-based and ecosystem-based systems. Agroecology and integrated farming are two ecosystem-based systems. Their principles and characteristics are defined. Their implementation often requires a recapitalization of ecosystems in soil organic matter and ecological infrastructures. As scientific activities, they are often involved in action and based on a holistic and participatory approach with pilot farms. Examples of this type of research activities are presented. Changes are needed in Belgian and European agricultural systems notably because they are based on massive use of fossil fuels and imports of animal feed from other continents. In addition to expected price increases of these inputs, a self-sufficiency rate is desirable. Intensive systems also have a negative impact on the environment. Policy options are proposed for implementing a fast transition to more agroecological systems.