Agroecology and systems analysis for sustainable agriculture
Agroecology and systems analysis have always been associated as at the core of agroecology is the search for synergies through the interactions of different components to support sustainable, resilient and equitable agricultural systems. Several agroecosystems analysis methods and tools have been developed. Systems approaches provide the theoretical basis and practical guidelines to capture the complexity of agroecosystems and design better, more sustainable, systems. These methodologies have been developed by and for different actors along the agricultural research and development continuum, from highly elaborated mathematical models to truly hands-on practical guidelines. Three examples of methodologies are briefly described. The Tool for Agroecology Performance Evaluation (TAPE), a global and collective effort to generate evidence on the extent and role of agroecology for transitioning towards more sustainable agroecosystems. The MESMIS framework, based on the participatory selection of multiple indicators, their quantification and integration for holistic assessment. Finally, FarmDESIGN, a model-based optimization tool allowing to assess current and alternative farm configurations and farming practices and quantify trade-offs, allowing the design of alternative, more sustainable systems. The application and adaptation of these and other systems analysis methods and tools can play a crucial role in the transition towards more sustainable agroecological systems.