Building Resilience: From Theory to Management

Monday, March 13, 2017

Variability and uncertainty in global climates coupled with diminishing natural resource base underscore the need to identify production systems capable of withstanding, and in some cases capitalizing on, environmental stresses. More diverse agroecosystems incorporate ecological concepts into system design and management to build resilience while minimizing agriculture’s negative footprint. Although resilience theory has much to offer for agroecosystems research, both for monitoring current systems and for planning future systems that can reconcile productivity and sustainability goals, confusion in the definitions and metrics complicate its application. We will examine how resilience theory can guide management in light of four key aspects: productivity, stability, resistance, and recovery, and we will identify breeding targets, practices and system designs that can help sustain productivity under environmental stress while maximizing positive response to favorable conditions. We will highlight some of the underlying biophysical mechanisms and propose approaches for agroecosystems researchers to monitor and assess resilience that consider the unique characteristics and goals of intensive agricultural systems.

Dr. Amélie Gaudin, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at University of California, Davis specializes in agroecology. Dr. Gaudin completed her PhD in plant agriculture at the University of Guelph and conducted research as a crop physiologist at various CGIAR centers—including the International Potato Center (CIP) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)—before joining the UC Davis faculty in 2015.

This talk is part of the Diversified Farming Systems Roundtable.