Farm resilience for sustainable food production: a conceptual framework
So far resilience work has mostly focused on regional‐scale, extensively managed ecosystems. Weargue that, as over 40% of the earth’s surface is used for agriculture, it would be fruitful to apply resiliencethinking to agro‐ecosystems. Resilience thinking could contribute to shifting farming systems from equilibriumbasedcommand‐and‐control management approaches towards sustainable food production through a betterunderstanding of the factors and processes that contribute to farm resilience. We focus on farms, understoodas intensively managed local‐level social‐ecological systems. Focusing on the local level could allow newinsights for resilience thinking, especially on the influences of human perceptions and the dynamics of decisionmakingprocesses. To enable a farm to persist both in times of predictable growth and in times of turbulentchange, a farmer needs to implement strategies that exploit current strengths, while simultaneously buildingadaptability and transformability. The challenge is that these strategies compete for scarce resources. Theappropriate mix of strategies will thus depend on the farmer’s preferences, the state of the farm along itsadaptive cycle and the co‐evolutionary processes between the farm and its environment, taking into accountvarious spatial and temporal scales. To assess the resilience of farms, resilience thinking will need to beoperationalized, but there are temporal and spatial hurdles involved in identifying suitable surrogates, as wellas the challenge to capture the ‘human dimension’ through surrogates.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordssustainability; agriculture; farm management; adaptive management; social‐ecological system; adaptive capacity; resilience
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