Principles and basic concepts on land evaluation and agro-ecological zoning. Basic concepts of sustainability science. Farming systems evaluation: Structural and functional properties of agroecosystems. Ecological and sustainable intensification. Evaluation of land use options for world agriculture: Conventional agriculture and agro-ecological approaches.
El-Hage Scialabba, N., Pacini, C., and Moller, S., 2014. Smallholder ecologies. FAO, Rome, Italy, 50 p. ISBN 978-92-5-108620-9. Available at: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/nr/sustainability_pathways/docs/Smallholder_Ecologies_web_final.pdf.
Tittonell, P.A., 2013. Farming Systems Ecology. Towards ecological intensification of world agriculture. Inaugural lecture upon taking up the position of Chair in Farming Systems Ecology at Wageningen University. Wageningen University, The Netherlands, 38 p.
FAO 2007. Land evaluation - towards a revised framework. FAO Land and water discussion papers. Available in PDF format at http://www.fao.org/3/a-a1080e.pdf
IIASA/FAO, 2012. Global Agro-ecological Zones (GAEZ v3.0). IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria and FAO, Rome, Italy. Available at http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/gaez/docs/GAEZ_Model_Documentation.pdf
LAND EVALUATION AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONING. Principles and basic concepts on land evaluation and agro-ecological zoning.
EVALUATION OF LAND USE OPTIONS. Basic concepts of sustainability science. Farming systems evaluation: Structural and functional properties of agroecosystems. Ecological and sustainable intensification. Evaluation of land use options for world agriculture: Conventional agriculture and agro-ecological approaches.
Methods for land evaluation based on pedological, climatic and crop suitability features.
Methods for land use evaluation based on sustainability performances and structural and functional properties of agroecosystems.
Skills acquired (at the end of the course):
Capacity to perform land evaluation with FAO agro-ecological zoning tools.
Critical view on land use options. Capacity to perform sustainability assessment of farming systems.
Courses to be used as requirements (required and/or recommended):
Courses required: No
Courses recommended: No
Total hours of the course (including the time spent in attending lectures, seminars, private study, examinations, etc...): 150
Hours reserved to private study and other indivual formative activities: 102
Contact hours for: Lectures (hours): 26
Contact hours for: Laboratory (hours): 17
Contact hours for: Laboratory-field/practice (hours): -
Seminars (hours): 2
Intermediate examinations: 3
Frequency of lectures, practice and lab:
Video, Computer room
Type of Assessment
Written test with multiple answers (30 questions) + case-study presentation on assessment of land use options.
Course Contents (detailed programme):
LAND EVALUATION AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONING. Background and rationale of land evaluation: land capability, land suitability and land use suitability. FAO agroecological zoning, including climate, soil and crop aspects, with special emphasis on crop modelling. Dataset mining and interpretation.
EVALUATION OF LAND USE OPTIONS. Basic concepts of sustainability science: Definition of sustainability, Dimensions of sustainability evaluation, Definition and classification of ecosystems services, Definition of ecological footprint. Farming systems evaluation: Structural properties of agroecosystems (diversity, coherence, connectedness), Functional properties of agroecosystems (capacity, efficiency, stability, resilience). Ecological and sustainable intensification approaches: Definition of sustainable intensification, Conventional agriculture. Definition of ecological, intensification, Agro-ecological approaches. Evaluation of land use options for world agriculture: High external input cropping systems, High external input livestock systems, GMO-based systems, Sustainable rice intensification, Urban and peri-urban agriculture, Conservation agriculture, Integrated pest management, Mixed rice-fish systems, Mixed crop-livestock systems , Organic and biodynamic agriculture, Grasslands and forage crops, Traditional polycultures, Agroforestry and forestry systems, Perennial grain polycultures, Permaculture.