FSE-31806 Agroecology

Course

Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Lecture24
Practical28
Field practical3
Group work3
Excursion (one day)16
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. FJJA Bianchi
BR van Pelt
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. W van der Werf
prof. dr. NPR Anten
dr. ir. WAH Rossing
dr. ir. FJJA Bianchi
dr. ir. JCJ Groot
Examiner(s)dr. ir. WAH Rossing

Language of instruction:

English

Assumed knowledge on:

Basic agronomy and crop ecology.

Contents:

Agroecology is the scientific discipline that supports the design of sustainable agroecosystems. Agroecology encompasses both ecological and social dimensions, and considers their interaction across scales. The ultimate goal of this course is to train a new generation of agricultural ecologists that are able to integrate disciplines to inform, design and implemen agroecological innovations at the scales of field to landscape, and as part of sustainable food systems. The course will offer the scientific knowledge bases to achieve that through six complementary modules: (1) Properties, analysis and design of agroecosystems; (2) Structure and diversity in/of agroecosystems; (3) Social dimension of agroecology; (4) Flows and cycles in agroecosystems; (5) Agroecology and the landscape; (6) Agroecology, food and nutritional security. The course is built following systems thinking and theory, so that the role of human agency is seen as operating through the design of structures (abiotic, biotic, social diversity and their organisation) to achieve desirable functions (resource capture, productivity, recycling, ecological regulation, nutrition, governance). Grades are assigned on an individual exam and a group research project (report).

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the diversity of agroecological systems in terms of scales, dimensions, diversity and value systems;
- evaluate (quali- & quantitatively) the diversity in structure and function of agroecosystems;
- analyse stakeholder roles and relevance in agroecological innovation;
- evaluate dynamics & complexity of agro-ecological interactions;
- integrate & synthesise knowledge to inform the design of sustainable food systems.

Activities:

The course will be based on both theory and practice, notably through lectures, computer-based practicals, problem solving, discussions, excursions and learning games.

Examination:

Grades are assigned on:
- an individual exam (70%);
- a group research report (30%).
Both grades need to be a 5.5 or higher.

Literature:

The course will be taught using scientific articles which will be provided on blackboard.

ProgrammePhaseSpecializationPeriod
Restricted Optional for: MOAOrganic AgricultureMScA: Agroecology6WD
MOAOrganic AgricultureMScC: Double Degree Agroecology6WD
MPSPlant SciencesMScA: Crop Science6WD
MPSPlant SciencesMScC: Natural Resource Management6WD