Professional Development Program






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Unit 1: Basic Ecological Concepts and Principles Related to Agricultural Systems

Take-home Message for Agroecosystem Managers
Ecosystems are remarkably stable, despite the many internal and external forces that work upon them over time. This characteristic of ecosystems is often described as dynamic equilibrium. A key question for agroecosystem managers is whether that dynamic equilibrium can be enhanced or capitalized on to improve production, environmental benefits and profits: Both research and experience show that it can be. Using terminology we defined in this section, the goal in sustainable farming and ranching is to develop an agroecosystem that has both high resistance and high resilience, one that is strong enough to withstand or avoid disturbances and has the ability to recover quickly from disturbances that do happen. This can be viewed as an overarching principle that integrates the previous three we have addressed in this unit. As such, all the practices that we will be exploring in Unit 2 tie in with this principle.
Congratulations!  You have completed Unit 1: Basic Ecological Concepts and Principles Related to Agricultural Systems. You should now have a richer understanding of how ecology and agriculture interrelate, and how an ecological perspective can help us enhance the sustainability of farms and ranches. Keep these basic concepts in mind as you continue with the next two units in this course.
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