SBL-50806 Agrobiodiversity


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Field practical32
Excursion (one day)10
Course coordinator(s)dr. RGM de Goede
M Jaartsveld
Lecturer(s)I Wheeler
dr. RGM de Goede
dr. ir. W van der Werf
Examiner(s)dr. RGM de Goede
dr. ir. W van der Werf

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06200 Fieldwork Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

2nd year level Ecology or Plant/Soil/Animal Sciences.

Continuation courses:

SOQ-33306 Integrated Natural Resource Management in Organic Agriculture; CSA-30806 Research Methods in Crop Science; FSE-30306 Analysis and Design of Organic Farming Systems; ENT-30306 Ecological Aspects of Bio-interactions.


Note: This course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual.
See Academic Year.( -> Registration for Courses.
This course deals with agrobiodiversity in support of the production of food, fibre and fuel and the conservation of non-commodity species. Species extinctions are a matter of extreme concern, although the decline of agrobiodiversity has  traditionally received less attention. It is now increasingly acknowledged in science and policies that biodiversity loss in agricultural landscapes negatively affects ecosystem services. This course examines the importance of biodiversity at the scale of agricultural fields, farms and the wider landscape for securing essential ecosystem services, including those that are essential for agricultural production. Those include nutrient cycling, pollination and natural pest regulation, among others. The role of agrobiodiversity for the sustainability of agricultural production and resilience against stress and disturbances related to global change will be discussed. Options for the management of biodiversity in different scenarios of farm and landscape management will be evaluated on-farm during a *one-week field practical in the Hoeksche Waard, in collaboration with farmers. Both the ecological and social factors will be taken into account.
This course involves a week stay outside Wageningen in the 3rd week of the course. Students pay a contribution in the transport and living costs of 75 euros for one week.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- describe agro-ecosystems in terms of crop, livestock and associated biodiversity (above- and belowground);
- understand major concepts in biodiversity - ecosystem functions - ecosystem stability theory in the context of agricultural systems;
- explain the role of major groups of organisms comprising agrobiodiversity for provisioning, regulating and supporting ecosystem services;
- relate the spatial and temporal configuration of farm fields and other landscape elements to the incidence of species;
- calculate and interpret different indices that characterize biodiversity in agricultural fields and landscapes;
- discuss the role of biodiversity for food security and ecosystem services in a context of global change;
- understand biodiversity management in agricultural landscapes in a societal context;
- analyse biodiversity and ecosystem services on farms and in surrounding landscapes;
- evaluate options for the management of biodiversity in different scenarios of farm and landscape management.


- lectures;
- field practical
- computer practicals;
- excursion.


- written test (40%) and group reports;
- two group reports for practical part 1 (together 20%);
- and one group report (including posters) for practical part 2 (40%).
Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass.


A reader will be provided consisting of different articles and book chapters.

Restricted Optional for: WUSACBSc Minor Sustainable Agriculture and Consumption6WD