Systems Research Handbook: Innovative Solutions to Complex Challenges
As farmers and ranchers strive to maintain profitability, they face a multitude of pressures such as protecting water and air resources, conserving biodiversity and limiting soil erosion. Too often, however, single-faceted agricultural research fails to account for the complex links between critical environmental, social and economic factors. The result? Piecemeal solutions to complex and interrelated problems. Now, SARE's groundbreaking Systems Research for Agriculture provides the theories and tools that researchers and producers need to design and conduct interdisciplinary systems research projects that advance sustainable agroecosystems.
Systems Research for Agriculture features multiple case studies, including SARE-funded research trials, that mimic an entire production system rather than substituting and comparing individual practices. Modifying research trials to fit local best farming practices allows systems-level changes in economic, social and environmental conditions to emerge and be better studied. While the model requires close collaboration between researchers and producers, it provides producers with practical insight into the on-farm adoption of new techniques.
Systems Research for Agriculture addresses the theoretical basis for agricultural systems research and provides a roadmap for building effective interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder teams. This handbook is essential reading for researchers and producers working together to plan, implement and analyze complex, multifaceted systems research experiments.
Systems Research for Agriculture is available as a free download at www.sare.org/Systems. Print copies can be ordered for $20 plus shipping and handling. Discounts are available for orders of 10 items or more.
Author Laurie Drinkwater is a professor in the School of Integrated Plant Science at Cornell University. She was raised in Key West, Florida and became interested in agriculture while attending graduate school at at the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on improving the ecological efficiency and sustainability of agricultural systems by studying the mechanisms governing carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous biogeochemistry in agroecosystems at scales ranging from the rhizosphere, where plant–microbial interactions dominate, to the field and landscape scale, where human interventions strongly influence ecosystem processes.