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ARS Home » Plains Area » Mandan, North Dakota » Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #373060

Research Project: Sustainable Agricultural Systems for the Northern Great Plains

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

Title: Social and agroecological diversity enhance ecosystem and enterprise resilience

item Toledo, David
item BENTLEY BRYMER, AMANDA - University Of Idaho
item SORICE, MIKE - Virginia Tech
item Hendrickson, John
item Archer, David

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/21/2020
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Agroecosystems have multiple layer of diversity. From soils, weather, topography and vegetation to the land uses, management, and social contexts in which these lands are embedded. The ecological literature is rich in examples of how species richness enhances ecosystem function and contributes to ecological resilience. Much of the ecological literature translates to agricultural systems and provides insights on how plant diversity, including crop diversity, as well as land use and management can combine to enhance agricultural productivity and increase agricultural system resilience. This is particularly important given projected variability in weather resulting from climate change. Social diversity and its role in enhancing agroecosystem resilience has been less studied or when studied, has focused on economics or has been homogenized by assuming that background, interests and expectations of land managers are the same. However, research shows that social processes like conversion of land use, migration, and community interactions drive diverse changes across agroecosystems that comprise diverse communities of people with diverse characteristics in terms of power relations, age, gender, ethnicity and values. Such social diversity contributes to cultural capital and resilience by providing a wider range of knowledge and experiences. The northern Great Plains of the US are at a climatic, productivity, and cultural boundary where the croplands of the Midwest transition into the grasslands of the West providing diverse socio-agroecological systems. We explore parts of this socio-agroecological systems in the context of integrated crop-livestock systems and address how the diversity within these systems can provide both opportunities and challenges for land managers in this region.