Principles for converting to agroecology (#journal)
New farming systems will not emerge from simply implementing a set of practices (rotations, composting, cover cropping, etc.) but rather from the application of already well defined agroecological principles. By breaking the monoculture nature of farming systems, agroecological diversification aims at mimicking ecological processes leading to optimal nutrient cycling and organic matter turnover, soil biological activation, closed energy flows, water and soil conservation and balanced pest-natural enemy populations. All these processes are key to maintaining the agroecosystem’s health, productivity and its self-sustaining capacity. By enhancing functional biodiversity, a major goal of the conversion process is achieved: strengthening the weak ecological functions in the agroecosystem, allowing farmers to gradually eliminate inputs altogether.