A theoretical model of agrobiodiversity as a supporting service for sustainable agricultural intensification

Omera, A and Pascual, U and Russell, N (2010) A theoretical model of agrobiodiversity as a supporting service for sustainable agricultural intensification. Ecological Economics, 69 (10). pp. 1926-1933.

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This paper addresses the relationship between agrobiodiversity conservation and sustainable agricultural intensification. A stylised theoretical model is used to explore the conditions by which both agrobiodiversity and conventional input intensification may increase through optimal adjustments of input use in agrobiodiversity-poor agroecosystems. The model shows that this result can arise in quite general circumstances where there is (1) an agricultural production technology that allows a positive relationship between ecological integrity of a given agricultural area and agricultural productivity, and (2) decision maker preferences that recognise this positive relationship and generate resource allocation decisions that support it. While increase in agrobiodiversity conservation is a necessary condition for optimal resource adjustments, whether input use will increase or decrease along this optimal path depends on the buffering effect of agrobiodiversity on ecosystem damage and the relative societal welfare impacts of agricultural output (e.g., food and fibre) reductions and ecosystem damage. Thus we identify conditions that promote agrobiodiversity as a supporting service for the sustainable intensification of agricultural production. A provocative hypothesis derived from the model points at the possibility that ecosystem damage (agrobiodiversity loss) can optimally decline even when agriculture undergoes an intensification process.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agrobiodiversity; Sustainable agricultural intensification; Ecosystem services
Author Affiliation: School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Subjects: Social Sciences > Agricultural Economics
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2012 06:49
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2012 06:49
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.04.025
URI: http://eprints.icrisat.ac.in/id/eprint/4291

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