Agroecologia

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Agroecology and the Search for a Truly Sustainable Agriculture
1st edition

Miguel A. Altieri Clara I. Nicholls
University of California, Berkeley 9 Basic Textbooks for Environmental Training

First edition: 2000 (Spanish version) First edition: 2005 (English version) © United Nations Environment Programme Environmental Training Network for Latin America and the Caribbean Boulevard de losVirreyes 155, Colonia Lomas de Virreyes 11000, Mexico D.F., Mexico
ISBN 968-7913-35-5

CONTENTS
PREFACE INTRODUCTION Chapter 1 MODERN AGRICULTURE: ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS CONVENTIONAL FARMING 5 9

AND THE

ALTERNATIVES TO 13

Chapter 2 AGROECOLOGY: PRINCIPLES AND STRATEGIES FOR DISIGNING SUSTAINABLE FARMING SYSTEMS Chapter 3 TEN REASONS WHY BIOTECHNOLOGY WILL NOT ENSURE FOOD SECURITY,PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT AND REDUCE POVERTY IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD Chapter 4 THE ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS OF TRANSGENIC CROPS Chapter 5 A DIALOGUE OF W ISDOMS : LINKING ECOLOGISTS AND TRADITIONAL FARMERS IN THE SEARCH FOR A TRULY SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE Chapter 6 AGROECOLOGY: THE SCIENCE OF NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT FOR POOR FARMERS IN MARGINAL ENVIRONMENTS

29

39

53

73

99

Chapter 7ENHANCING THE PRODUCTIVITY OF LATIN AMERICAN TRADITIONAL PEASANT FARMING SYSTEMS THROUGH AN AGROECOLOGICAL APPROACH Chapter 8 BIOLOGICAL CONTROL IN AGROECOSYSTEMS ENTOMOPHAGOUS INSECTS

145

THROUGH

MANAGEMENT

OF

179

Chapter 9 AN AGROECOLOGICAL BASIS FOR INSECT PEST MANAGEMENT Chapter 10 DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING A HABITAT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY ENHANCE BIOLOGICAL PEST CONTROL INAGROECOLOGY

199

TO

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Chapter 11 AGROECOLOGY: TRANSITIONING ORGANIC AGRICULTURE BEYOND INPUT SUBSTITUTION Cahpter 12 A RAPID, FARMER-FRIENDLY AGROECOLOGICAL METHOD TO ESTIMATE SOIL QUALITY AND CROP HEALTH IN VINEYARD SYSTEMS

263

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Preface Preface
Environmental education and training is the process whereby new knowledge and practices evolve to understand and to intervene in thesolution of the complex socio-environmental problems of our time. Also, to construct a new social and productive rationality that would enable to transit towards a sustainable development. This process implies the elaboration of new theories, methods, techniques, and their incorporation in new educational programmes, productive strategies and environmental management projects. To face-up thischallenge, the publishing programme of the Environmental Training Network for Latin America and the Caribbean was established in 1995 to disseminate knowledge, methods and techniques for environmental management, in order to serve as basic educational materials for environmental training programmes and as an instrument to give support to the sustainable development policies for the countries of theregion; to prepare different social sectors at different professional levels, as well as citizens groups and community development programmes. Ten years later, the ETN has published 40 basic text books and manuals, and a series on Latin American Environmental Thinking. However, these publications have privileged the Spanish-speaking countries of the region. Now, we are thus proud to present this basictext book on “Agroecology and the Search for a Truly Sustainable Agriculture”, by Miguel Altieri and Clara Nicholls. With this first title published in English we start to cover our debt to the English-speaking Caribbean sub-region and to the English-speaking countries at large. The subject of this book is the sustainable agriculture and its importance to the sustainable development; capitalizedagriculture impinged the earth’s

6

conditions of sustainability by ignoring its ecological conditions and potentials, deriving a devastation of resources, soil pollution, land erosion and loss of biodiversity. It broke the organization and resilience of ecological systems, degrading the planet’s life support systems. All this caused productivity losses and rural employments, and a high...
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