The challenge, now, is for agroecologists to produce models that are quantified in terms of interactions and emerging ecosystem services, and for theoreticians to develop new network models that will enable comprehensive approaches to the management of ecosystem services provided by agroecosystems. To be relevant, network models designed for management purposes should include those elements that determine ecological structures and trends and interact with management decisions. For this purpose, network models need to be tested against observational data sets and should be supported by appropriate modelling techniques.
Furthermore, the effects of interactions between species and management decisions on each component of the simulated network remain insufficiently studied in the field and inadequately formalized within a strong theoretical background. The link between biotic and abiotic factors in network models requires further study, such as between water and plant development Wiens, and between wind and flying insects or pollen Kuparinen et al. Currently, it is largely ignored.
It is also necessary to consider a unified formalism for space, time and entities to model these interactions in a network approach. Once network models are constructed and validated using observation, modellers optimizing the set of competing ecosystem services will face three challenges, related to the mismatches between temporal and spatial scales governing each landscape service.
In spite of these challenges, we believe that network ecology now has a solid foundation and could serve as the central paradigm for predictive agriculture management. Abrol, T. Adhya, in The Indian Nitrogen Assessment , Agroecosystems constitute the most predominant terrestrial ecosystems in India accounting for the largest quantum of fertilizer-N use.
Among the other terrestrial ecosystems, horticultural crops have a lower N content than the agricultural crops, but modern high intensity horticultural production system causes leakage of considerable amount of N R into the environment. The scenario is further complicated by the livestock sector where cattle and buffaloes are the largest contributors of ammonia accounting for The entire scenario, therefore, becomes quite alarming from the viewpoint of total environmental impact of N R. David A. Sarina Macfadyen, in Advances in Ecological Research , All these protagonists use discipline-specific protocols, so networks tend to be carved up and dealt with piecemeal rather than as a whole, and how the components are interlinked over time and space is still poorly understood.
Understanding the structure and dynamics of ecological networks that incorporate a wide range of interaction types is a growing area in ecology, partly driven by advances in computer modelling Evans et al. Much of the recent work in this area has been in agroecosystems.
For example, Pocock et al. This study inevitably encompassed a wide taxonomic and functional range, which included animals regarded as bioindicators and as ecosystem service providers.
Although this was just a subset of species interactions at the farm scale, the study was unique in attempting to connect multiple species-interaction networks, which have traditionally been studied in isolation Fontaine et al. They also found that robustness did not co-vary among them, suggesting that targeted management of one group will not necessarily benefit others. Evans et al. Habitat destruction is a primary cause of biodiversity loss Pimm and Raven, and the impacts of management, such as habitat addition, loss and change, are likely to have large effects within ecological networks, as they will simultaneously affect multiple species across trophic levels see Hagen et al.
Overall, the plant and animal groups exhibited high robustness, largely because habitats tended to have similar species composition and few unique interactions, despite considerable variation in management intensity and disturbance between habitats. Additionally, many of the animal groups e. These results suggest that the loss of a particular habitat may have little impact on animals, so long as suitable resources are available elsewhere.
The models assumed that with the loss of a habitat-specific food source or host, animals could switch to alternate food sources in different habitats, but for some species this may not always be feasible. The models also assumed that the entire possible host range was observed: an observation likely to be affected by sampling bias e. Chacoff et al. Despite these potential caveats, such novel analyses that incorporate environmental variation into the network clearly have considerable potential for predictive agroecosystem management and restoration.
An agricultural ecosystem is an ecosystem managed with a purpose, usually to produce crops or animal products. Agricultural ecosystems are designed by humans, and are based on a long chain of experience and experiments. The emphasis in, for example, Western Europe has changed from maximum productivity only to also include environmental considerations, such as reduction of nutrient losses to groundwater and maintaining an open landscape with high biodiversity, etc. In less-productive regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, environmental considerations still have low priority.
Plant biodiversity is extremely low — if weed control is successful there may be only one species present. In spite of this, belowground biodiversity can be high, although often lower than in natural ecosystems. Lal, in Climate Vulnerability , Soils of agroecosystems i.
K.R. Krishna (Author of Maize Agroecosystem)
However, surface temperature increases may alter the metabolic balance of agroecosystems, disturb the dynamic equilibrium between photosynthesis and respiration, and reduce the rate and magnitude of C sequestration in soil and the biomass. There exists a strong positive feedback between temperature and CO 2 emission due to an increase in rate of soil respiration Melillo et al. Soil carbon sequestration is extremely sensitive to temperature regime Davidson and Janssens While reducing the soil carbon pool, warming may also adversely impact soil quality and use efficiency of agroecosystems Lal b.
The type of crop and how it is managed can have very large effects on surface temperatures and, therefore, be used to mitigate carbon sequestration Lal In agroecosystems, the soil greenhouse gas GHG balance may be altered by land use changes Robertson et al. In general, the shift from cropland to forest or grassland increases the soil organic carbon SOC stocks Guo and Gifford, ; Smith, After a land use change, modifications in environmental and soil factors affect SOC dynamics Corre et al.
Among others, greater carbon C inputs, changes in SOC quality, C protection by soil aggregates, and deep placement of soil C may contribute to the accrual of SOC when croplands are converted to either forest or grasslands Post and Kwon, Cropland abandonment may either result in a subsequent renaturalization process with the colonization of different stages of plant communities passive restoration or in an active restoration process through the afforestation of the previous cropland surface Nadal-Romero et al.
In Mediterranean conditions the positive effect of cropland abandonment on SOC accrual has been shown in several studies covering a wide variety of climate and soil conditions e. The majority of these studies were focused on determining the impacts on SOC stocks, but only a small number of them incorporated soil respiration measurements to identify biotic and abiotic factors that control soil C changes over short periods of time e.
Soils from dryland areas may contribute to atmospheric GHG mitigation not only through SOC sequestration, but also through the oxidation of methane CH 4 within the soil structure. Consequently, in dryland Mediterranean conditions, in which soil moisture is limited, methanotrophic activity could become a significant contributor to enlarge the sink capacity of these dryland agroecosystems.
For example, in a rainfed barley Hordeum vulgare L. Similarly, in central Portugal, Shvaleva et al. In addition, these later studies stressed the significant influence of particular climate and soil variables on CH 4 emissions Plaza-Bonilla et al. It is thus likely that modifications in environmental and soil factors after a shift from cropland to either forest or grassland can also have an important impact on soil gas emissions Corre et al.
Therefore changes in soil water content, soil temperature, nitrogen content, or labile carbon could have a significant impact on gas emission rates and on the role of soil as a sink or source of GHG Weier et al. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of land use change on soil C dynamics in a southern European dryland agroecosystem. In order to address this objective SOC stocks were determined and soil CO 2 and CH 4 emissions were measured during 18 months under different land uses in a representative Mediterranean area in northeast Spain.
Our main hypothesis was that soil C dynamics would be affected by land use expecting the lowest soil C levels in the cropland site compared with the abandoned site and, particularly, the afforested site. Indigenous legumes biomass quality and influence on C and N mineralization under indigenous legume fallow systems. Symbiosis Tauro T. Germination, field establishment patterns and nitrogen fixation of indigenous legumes on nutrient-depleted soils.
Symbiosis Mapfumo, P. LEISA Mtambanengwe F.
Smallholder farmer management impacts on particulate and labile carbon fractions of granitic sandy soils in Zimbabwe. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems Nezomba H. P, Mtambanengwe F. Nitrogen fixation and biomass productivity of indigenous legumes for fertility restoration of abandoned soils in smallholder farming systems. South African Journal of Plant and Soil 25 3 Organic matter quality and management effects on enrichment of soil organic matter fractions in contrasting soils in Zimbabwe.
Plant Soil Chivenge P. Long-term impact of reduced tillage and residue management on soil carbon stabilization: Implications for conservation agriculture on contrasting soils. Nezomba H. Biomass productivity of N2-fixing indigenous legumes on sandy soils under smallholder rain-fed conditions of Zimbabwe. African Crop Science Conference Proceedings 8: Field emergence and establishment of indigenous N2-fixing legumes for soil fertility restoration. Mtambanengwe, F. Effects of organic resource quality on soil profile N dynamics and maize yields on sandy soils in Zimbabwe.
Plant and Soil Chikowo, R. Integrating legumes to improve N cycling on smallholder farms in sub-humid Zimbabwe: Resource quality, biophysical and environmental limitations. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems Mtambanengwe, F. Mapfumo, P. Comparative short-term effects of different quality organic resources on maize productivity under two different environments in Zimbabwe.
Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 76 Tapping indigenous herbaceous legumes for soil fertility management by resource-poor farmers in Zimbabwe. Organic matter management as an underlying cause for soil fertility gradients on smallholder farms in Zimbabwe. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems Chikowo R.
effects of sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion on nutrient dynamics in coastal farmlands
Maize productivity and mineral N dynamics following different soil fertility management practices on a depleted sandy soil in Zimbabwe. Nyamugafata, P. Mineral N dynamics, leaching and nitrous oxide losses under maize following two-year improved fallows on a sandy loam soil in Zimbabwe. Woody legume fallow productivity, biological N2-fixation and residual benefits to two successive maize crops in Zimbabwe.
Nitrate-N dynamics following improved fallows and maize root development in a Zimbabwean sandy clay loam Agroforestry Systems 59 3 : Mapfumo, P. Legumes in soil fertility management: The case of pigeonpea in smallholder farming systems of Zimbabwe. Pigeonpea-nodulating rhizobia prevalence and effect on inoculation response in smallholder-managed soils in Zimbabwe Experimental Agriculture Giller, K. Mpepereki S.
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Dinitrogen fixation by pigeonpea of different maturity types on granitic sandy soils in Zimbabwe. Symbiosis Nitrogen cycling in non-N2-fixing tree legumes: challenges for biological nitrogen fixation research in savanna ecosystems.
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