Module: Resilience of Agro-Ecosystems

Module details

  • Module code

    2349
  • Module leader

    Felicity Crotty
  • Module Level

    5
  • Module credits

    15
  • Min study time

    150 hours
  • Contact hrs

    48 hours

Module content

The module will begin with descriptions of key definitions and components of resilience of crop and livestock production systems and underpinning agro-ecology. Students will be provided with methods for assessing stability and an understanding of the major factors causing interactions between genetics, management and environment in yield and quality from crop, livestock and mixed systems. This section will describe biotic, abiotic, socio-economic  and political threats to agro-ecosystem functionality over different temporal scales. Different agro-ecological approaches to production system design will be introduced as well as the concepts of tipping points, functional redundancy and resilience in agro-ecosystems Comparative resilience of different systems will be discussed. The students will be provided with the tools to critically assess the resilience of an existing farming system, and be asked to generate options for improving resilience of that system.

Module outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Understand concepts of, and be able to assess, stability in relation to food production systems and underpinning agro-ecology.
  2. Explain the concepts of tipping points, recovery and trade-offs between efficiencies and resilience in agro-ecosystems
  3. Be able to interpret factors that could improve the resilience of agro-ecosystems,
  4. Evaluate various proposed agroecological approaches such as conservation agriculture, organic farming, and climate smart agriculture

Assessment

Assessment Description Weighting
Examination Written exam 40%
Report Produce a report (2000 words) 60%

Assessments may differ in 2020/21 due to adjustments for Covid-19. Please check Gateway for the latest regulations.

Key texts

Key Journals:

  • Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
  • Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems

Relevant texts:

  • Gardner, S.; Ramsden, S.; Hails, R. 2019. Agricultural resilience: perspectives from ecology and economics. Cambridge University Press.
  • Gliessman, S.R. 2007. Agroecology: the ecology of sustainable food systems 2nd ed. CRC Press.
  • Gooding, M. J.; Davies, W. P. 1997. Wheat production and utilization: systems, quality and the environment, CAB International.
  • Nagothu U.S. 2016. Climate change and agricultural development: improving resilience through climate smart agriculture, agroecology and conservation. Routledge.
  • Pretty, J. 2002. Agri-culture: reconnecting people, land and nature. Earthscan
  • Tivy, J. 1990. Agricultural ecology. Longman