Keywords: agroecosystem, biodiversity, global change, landscape ecology, land use dynamics, shifting agriculture, sustainable agriculture
An integrated approach to land use management for conserving agroecosystem biodiversity in the context of global change
Agriculture is a major land use activity in the developing tropics. Though the productivity of the land in many parts of the region has gone up significantly due to "green revolution" agriculture, it has had many negative environmental consequences, and its economic impact is still confined to only a small section of society. These concerns and issues linked to agroecosystem resilience in the context of the much discussed "global change" have led to a renewed interest in the multi-species complex agroecosystems of traditional societies. Farmers' choices of cropping combinations represent a planned biodiversity strategy which offers possibilities for in situ conservation of crop biodiversity which is so important even for the long-term sustainability of modern high-energy input agriculture. However, if the traditional crop and management practices of these complex agroecosystems could be improved through the inputs of modern science, we would move in the direction of sustainable agriculture with improved production possibilities. This paper discusses issues relating to additional pathways for agricultural development, placed in the context of a more sustainable landscape management plan and involving community participation.