Adding the cropping threats and their counters (also termed eco-dynamics or eco-services) to the base agroecosystem is the second step along the central, design-originating path. As there are many threats and each has many counters, this chapter might well be a messy affair.
There is a reprieve. It is possible to condense the threats and counters into matrix form. This makes the process, and explanations, manageable.
If there is to be any takeaway, it is that multiple threats can, in full or part, be addressed through a single counter. Also, that multiple counters layer or mutually reinforce, each helping to mitigate a single threat.
These are strong assertions, so much so that this chapter also continues the process of defining agroecology. This can be formally done through the internal eco-dynamics and the accompanying answers to the many cropping threats. In addition, agroecosystems can be defined, viewed, and ranked by way of matrix-derived measures of intensity.
Given the various manifestations of the matrix as the central explanatory tool, it is safe to say that the agroecological matrix represents one expression of agroecology. In doing so, the matrix is both a defining and explanatory concept. It is also an analytical tool.