Agroecology pp 105-115 | Cite as

Complex Agroecosystems

  • Paul Wojtkowski

Chapter Commentary

Up to this point, the focus is on the less complicated, plant-plant dynamics, those that underwrite bicultures, and other simple agrosystems. They contain fewer than seven species and come complete with rules that aid in the pairing of unlike, co-planted species.

In contrast, complex agroecosystems have seven or more interacting species. By way of density, diversity, disarray, and duration, the contained agrotechnologies enter a realm where the overall ecology of the agrosystem, not the one-on-one interactions, dominates.

This results in a proliferation of cost- and labor-saving eco-services. Toward achieving the economic ideal, low costs are coupled with expected, high, LER-stated yields.

For these, there is another set of rules. They allow users to cope with enhanced and ordinarily unmanageable, bio-complexity.

These have a long, unnoticed history of use. The Biblical Garden of Eden, “…with all kinds of trees ..., pleasing to the eye and good to eat” (Genesis 2:7), would have been an eatable landscape. Most likely, this would have been a complex agroecosystem.


  1. Wojtkowski, P. A. (1993). Toward an understanding of tropical home gardens. Agroforestry Systems, 24, 215–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Wojtkowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidad de ConcepciónPittsfieldUSA

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