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Resilience to climate change in agricultural systems

June 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Climate change is impacting agroecosystems widely. Ecological connectivity makes regions more resilient and hence helps conserve biodiversity and combat climate change, while ecologically sound analysis and management help keep agroecosystems alive. In this context, a bioeconomic approach may help guide the integration of natural and human systems. In Umbria, the origin of this approach was the opening lecture of TreviNatura (Trevi, Italy 25-27 October 2015) delivered by Professor Andrew P. Gutierrez (CASAS Global) and titled  “The economy of nature and humans: the role of ecosystem services” that illustrated the often conflicting interaction between humans and nature, and how this interaction can be best understood using bioeconomics, with ecosystem services playing a central role. The region of Umbria in Central Italy is particularly amenable to developing and implementing a holistic approach to the integrated management of agricultural and natural ecosystems, because this region has pioneered biodiversity conservation and management at both national and European level, and it is about to deploy a third improved version of its Regional Ecological Network. Notably, the local environmental protection agency ARPA Umbria is committed to a systemic vision of the environment where the different components (e.g., agricultural, natural, urban) interact in complex ways and hence may not be managed separately. This commitment will build capacity by developing specific research projects, higher education, and training. The Workshop “Biodiversity for ecologically based resilience to climate change in agricultural systems” was a key step for developing a Summer School on Agroecology, to be held during 2018 at the Polvese Island’s Research Center for Climate Change and Biodiversity in Wetlands and Lakes (see the draft program for the Center).

Workshop – Biodiversity for ecologically based resilience to climate change in agricultural systems. Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Perugia, Italy, 31 May 2017. Program and info

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Bioeconomic sustainability of cellulosic biofuel production

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

The use of marginal land (ML) for lignocellulosic biofuel production is examined for system stability, resilience, and eco-social sustainability. A North American prairie grass system and its industrialization for maximum biomass production using biotechnology and agro-technical inputs is the focus of the analysis. Demographic models of ML biomass production and ethanol farmer/producers are used to examine the stability properties of the ML system. A bio-economic model that maximizes the utility of consumption having the dynamics of MLs and the farmer/producers as dynamic constraints is used to examine the effects of increased conversion efficiency, input costs, risk, and levels of base resources and inputs on the competitive and societal solutions for biomass production. We posit ML abandonment after biofuel production ceases could lead to permanent land degradation below initial levels that prohibit the establishment of the original flora and fauna.

Gutierrez A.P., Ponti L., 2009. Bio-economic sustainability of cellulosic biofuel production on marginal lands. Bulletin of Science Technology and Society, 29: 213-225.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0270467609333729