Brief Info Agroecology: Overview, Benefits, Trend

Brief Info Agroecology: Overview, Benefits, Trend

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Agroecology is the “ecology of the food system” and a farming approach that is inspired by natural ecosystems. It combines local and scientific knowledge and applies ecological and social approaches to agricultural systems, focusing on the interactions between plants, animals, humans, and the environment.

Principles of agroecology

The five FAO principles for Sustainable Food and Agriculture are:

  1. improving efficiency in the use of resources;
  2. conserving, protecting, and enhancing natural ecosystems;
  3. protecting and improving rural livelihoods, equity, and social well-being;
  4. enhancing the resilience of people, communities, and ecosystems

Benifits of agroecology

A better way forward This means farming that not only produces food, jobs and economic. Well-being but also creates cultural, social, and environmental benefits. Agroecology also protects and provides ecosystem services like pollination, natural pest control, nutrient and water cycling, and erosion control.

Biodynamic agriculture

One example of an agroecological livestock farming system is an integrated crop-livestock system. This uses crop residues as animal feed and recycles animal manures – rich in nutrients. And energy for micro-organisms in the soil – as crop fertilizer. Rather than being a pollutant, manure becomes a key resource.

Agro ecological regon in sri lanka

The Intermediate zone consists of 20 agro-ecological sub-regions out of which 15 subregions are in the central hills. The varying degree of effectiveness of different rainfall governing mechanisms across the central hills has caused a variety of growing environments in this region.

There are 7 agro-ecological sub-regions in the Upcountry Intermediate zone out of which IU1 is reported to receive the highest annual rainfall among all sub-regions of the entire Intermediate zone. Being in the Knuckles range, this region receives an ample amount of rain from NEM while the contribution from SWM rains is also substantial.

Complex geographical settings of the IU3 agro-ecological region that encompasses almost the whole of the so-called “Uva basin” have resulted in 5 agro-ecological sub-regions due to high spatial variability inter-monsoonal and NEM rains in this region. Meanwhile, being located in the rain shadow area of the SWM, this region does not receive adequate rains from June to September resulting in a dry and windy environment. The Mid country Intermediate zone has 7 agro-ecological sub-regions.

Most of these sub-regions also do not receive adequate rains from SWM and, hence, 4 months period from June to September is relatively dry.

The low country Intermediate zone consists of 5 agro-ecological sub-regions. Other than IL2, all other agro-ecological subregions in the Low country Intermediate zone resemble a bi-modal rainfall distribution.

Since Second Inter Monsoon (SIM) and NEM rains are the only effective rainy seasons in the region, the IL2 agro-ecological region exhibits a distinctly uni-modal rainfall distribution along with a long and pronounced dry period from April to September.

In the Dry zone, there are 11 agro-ecological sub-regions with different rainfall distribution and edaphic features. The DL3, DL4, and DL5 agro-ecological regions of the Dry zone receive the lowest annual rainfall of the country in combination with some soil limitations that are found in these regions. Out of 11 agro-ecological sub-regions, only DL1a and DL1b is characterized by two discernible peaks in the rainfall distribution and thus, support crops in both Maha and Yala growing seasons. Those agro-ecological subregions found in the eastern sector of the Dry zone, i.e., DL1c, DL1d, DL1e and DL2a, and DL2b, exhibit a distinct uni-modal rainfall pattern and support only the crops in Maha season. The rest of the agro-ecological sub-regions of the Dry zone also support only the Maha crop since Yala rains in those sub-regions are not adequate to meet the evapotranspiration requirements.

Agro ecological zones

Sri Lanka has a heterogeneous agro-ecological environment and many workers have made efforts to classify this situation. A particular agro-ecological region represents fairly even agro-climate, soils, and terrain conditions and would support a particular farming system with a certain range of crops and farming practices, including forage cultivation and livestock farming.

On rainfall distribution, Sri Lanka has traditionally been classified into three climatic zones: the Wet Zone, Dry Zone, and Intermediate Zone. The Wet Zone covers the south-western region including the central hill country and receives relatively high mean annual rainfall over 2,500 mm without pronounced dry periods. The Dry Zone covers predominantly the northern and eastern parts of the country, separated from the Wet Zone by the Intermediate Zone. The Dry zone receives a mean annual rainfall of less than 1,750 mm with a distinct dry season from May to September. The Intermediate zone receives a mean annual rainfall between 1,750 to 2,500 mm with a short and less prominent dry season.

In differentiating these three major climatic zones, land use, forestry, rainfall, and soils are widely used and as a result, they were divided into 24 agro-ecological regions. Environmental change, availability of more spatial and temporal data, and advancement of GIS technology have led to the sub-division of the 24 agro-ecological regions of Sri Lanka into 46 sub-regions.

Sri Lanka’s primary food crop is rice. Rice is cultivated during two seasons. Tea is cultivated in the central highlands and is a major source of foreign exchange. Fruit, vegetables, and oilseed crops are also cultivated in the country.

Go to our other agricultural articles –Example, Impact, and Negatives of Green Revolution, GREENHOUSE EFFECT – Earth Warm and Other Effects, The Green Energy – All About Renewable energy


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