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The Ecology of Agricultural Landscapes: Long-Term Research on the Path to Sustainability

The latest book in the LTER series, presenting long-term research on agricultural landscapes.
Discusses issues like crop productivity, climate change, and alternate cropping systems

Series: The Long-Term Ecological Research Network Series (LTER)

By: Stephen K Hamilton (Editor), Julie E Doll (Editor), G Philip Robertson (Editor)

448 pages, 158 illustrations

Oxford University Press USA

Hardback | Mar 2015 | #219377 | ISBN-13: 9780199773350
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £51.99 $64/€58 approx

About this book

Evidence has been mounting for some time that intensive row-crop agriculture as practiced in developed countries may not be environmentally sustainable, with concerns increasingly being raised about climate change, implications for water quantity and quality, and soil degradation. The Ecology of Agricultural Landscapes synthesizes two decades of research on the sustainability of temperate, row-crop ecosystems of the Midwestern United States. The overarching hypothesis guiding The Ecology of Agricultural Landscapes has been that more biologically based management practices could greatly reduce negative impacts while maintaining sufficient productivity to meet demands for food, fiber and fuel, but that roadblocks to their adoption persist because we lack a comprehensive understanding of their benefits and drawbacks.

The research behind The Ecology of Agricultural Landscapes, based at the Kellogg Biological Station (Michigan State University) and conducted under the aegis of the Long-term Ecological Research network, is structured on a foundation of large-scale field experiments that explore alternatives to conventional, chemical-intensive agriculture. Studies have explored the biophysical underpinnings of crop productivity, the interactions of crop ecosystems with the hydrology and biodiversity of the broader landscapes in which they lie, farmers' views about alternative practices, economic valuation of ecosystem services, and global impacts such as greenhouse gas exchanges with the atmosphere. In contrast to most research projects, the long-term design of this research enables identification of slow or delayed processes of change in response to management regimes, and allows examination of responses across a broader range of climatic variability. The Ecology of Agricultural Landscapes synthesizes this comprehensive inquiry into the ecology of alternative cropping systems, identifying future steps needed on the path to sustainability.


1 Conceptual and Experimental Approaches to Long-term Ecological Research at the Kellogg Biological Station 1
G. Philip Robertson and Stephen K. Hamilton
2 Farming for Ecosystem Services: An Ecological Approach to Production Agriculture 44
G. Philip Robertson, Katherine L. Gross, Stephen K. Hamilton, Douglas A. Landis, Thomas M. Schmidt, Sieglinde S. Snapp, and Scott M. Swinton
3 Economic Value of Ecosystem Services from Agriculture 76
Scott M. Swinton, Christina B. Jolejole-Foreman, Frank Lupi, Shan Ma, Wei Zhang and Huilan Chen
4 A Crop Stress Index to Predict Climatic Effects on Row-crop Agriculture in the U.S. North Central Region 110
Stuart H. Gage, Julie E. Doll, and Gene R. Safir
5 Soil Organic Matter Dynamics: Controls and Management for Sustainable Ecosystem Functioning 142
Eldor A. Paul, Alexandra Kravchenko, A. Stuart Grandy, and Sherri Morris
6 Microbial Diversity in Soils of Agricultural Landscapes and its Relation to Ecosystem Function 186
Thomas M. Schmidt and Clive Waldron
7 Plant Community Dynamics in Agricultural and Successional Fields 216
Katherine L. Gross, Sarah Emery, Adam S. Davis, Richard G. Smith, and Todd M.P. Robinson
8 Arthropod Diversity and Pest Suppression in Agricultural Landscapes 257
Douglas A. Landis and Stuart H. Gage
9 Nitrogen Transfers and Transformations in Row-crop Ecosystems 289
Neville Millar and G. Philip Robertson
10 Simulating Crop Growth and Biogeochemical Fluxes in Response to Land Management using the SALUS Model 343
Bruno Basso and Joe T. Ritchie
11 Water Quality and Movement in Agricultural Landscapes 376
Stephen K. Hamilton
12 Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases in Agricultural Ecosystems 419
Ilya Gelfand and G. Philip Robertson
13 Farmer Decisions about Adopting Environmentally Beneficial Practices 459
Scott M. Swinton, Natalie Rector, G. Philip Robertson, Christina B. Jolejole-Foreman, and Frank Lupi
14 Acoustic Observations in Agricultural Landscapes 490
Stuart H. Gage, Wooyeong Joo, Eric P. Kasten, Jordan Fox, and Subir Biswas
15 Designing Cropping Systems for Ecosystem Services 512
Sieglinde S. Snapp, Richard G. Smith, and G. Philip Robertson

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Stephen K. Hamilton, Julie E. Doll, and G. Philip Robertson are affiliated with the Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University.

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