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Ecosystem understanding crucial in agriculture

Ecosystem understanding crucial in agriculture

The future of agriculture rests on the next generation of leaders understanding interactions among species, Associate Professor Adrian Paterson, Head of Department Pest-management and Conservation at Lincoln University, says.

The newly formed Department, set-up in part to align with the external Biosecurity 2025 and Predator-Free-NZ 2050 initiatives, is offering an undergraduate 300 level course in Agroecology next semester.

Agroecology is where agriculture meets life science. It is about using ecological knowledge to add value and to future-proof agricultural production systems.

Improving soil health, nutrient and pest management, diversification of grazing systems and integration of agroforestry are the main topics of study. The new course considers the contribution ecosystem services can provide towards a clean, green, productive and sustainable future.

Associate Professor Paterson said the course allows Lincoln to showcase research areas and teaching skills that are central to the University’s Faculty of Agriculture and Life Science.

Students from across the University, including Bachelor of Agricultural Science and the Bachelor of Science, will benefit from the course.

Faculty of Agriculture and Life Science Dean, Professor Grant Edwards, said Agroecology fits in well with Lincoln University aspirations to “feed the world, protect the future and live well”.

Course examiner, Professor Nick Dickinson, said Agroecology explores the ideas, the science and technology, and the field evidence.

“Our aim is to contribute new and workable options towards environmental improvement and a more sustainable agriculture”.

Course contributor Professor Steve Wratten said there is a lot of global interest in the topic, with the amount of research in the area increasing over the last few decades, with nearly 8000 publications per year since 2010.


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