Reshaping boundaries between farming systems and the environment

  • Stéphane BellonEmail author
  • Jean-Louis Hemptinne


In modern societies, farmers not only have to be efficient in food production, but also ensure that ecological services such as pollination, pest control or biodiversity conservation are effective. Therefore, the role of the environment needs to be reconsidered in redesigning or assessing farming systems. This chapter questions and redefines the usual boundaries between a farming system and its environment. It includes three sections. First, we examine the dynamics of literature related to environmental perspectives in farming systems analysis, encompassing several levels of organization. Then, we analyse the contribution of some proposals derived from ecological forms of agriculture (e.g. organic, integrated), in terms of system properties and boundaries, as well as the delineation of expected functions. Finally, by examining agroecology, we address how farming systems can integrate ecological issues, and identify research perspectives which may inform the further development of farming systems thinking and practices.


Farming System Food Sovereignty Participatory Plant Breeding Cereal Plant Farming System Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We warmly thank Walter Rossing for his valuable input in the design of this paper and the fruitful discussions that we had during the early stages of the writing. We also thank the various colleagues who encouraged us in this enterprise, and those who shared ideas with us during International Summer Schools of Agroecology (ISSAE).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sciences for Action and Development, Ecodevelopment UnitINRA PACAAvignonFrance
  2. 2.UMR CNRS 5174 Evolution et Diversité BiologiqueUniversité de ToulouseCastanet-TolosanFrance

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