|Title||Exploring dominant land uses and their associated soil-based agroecosystems in a heterogeneous agricultural landscape in the Ecuadorian Andes|
|Author(s)||Caulfield, M.; Fonte, S.; Vanek, S.; Sherwood, S.; Groot, J.C.J.; Tittonell, P.A.|
|Event||Wageningen soil conference 2015, 2015-08-23/2015-08-27|
Farming Systems Ecology
|Publication type||Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings|
|Abstract||Over the past decades more and more studies have highlighted the fact that the ecosystems of agricultural landscapes, land-uses that account for significant portions of land in Ecuador (7.38 million hectares in 2013 according to INEC), provide multiple benefits to society beyond those of food, fibre and fuel provision (Fonte et al 2012; Posthumus et al 2010). However, most studies investigating these ecosystem functions have either only been conducted at the plot level or have been focused on a single ecosystem function (Balvanera et al., 2006). The current study will therefore take a more comprehensive approach by assessing different functions of the soil-based agroecosystems within the landscape (including soil physical, chemical and biological parameters, carbon storage, biomass production and yield). Moreover, within this research an attempt to assess the trade-offs in agroecosystem functioning will be
conducted comparing different potential future land use changes developed in a participatory manner with the community. The main research steps include 1) participatory land use and soil mapping with the community using orthophotos 2) stratified sampling of the different land uses identified in the mapping 3) participatory mapping of potential future land use changes 4) statistical analysis using ANOVA to assess differences in biodiversity and agroecosystem
functioning 5) assessment of impact of different land use change scenarios. It is expected that by describing and exploring the current land uses and their associated agroecosystem functions in a heterogeneous agricultural landscape a more nuanced insight will be provided into the influences, challenges and constraints faced by smallholder farmers and the agroecosystems upon which they rely as well as providing for a more integrative assessment to allow for better informed land use decisions and resource management planning.