My research combines social-ecological knowledge with systems analysis techniques, and a first-hand understanding of farming realties in the temperate and tropical regions of the world, for the design of ecologically intensive agroecosystems. New forms of agriculture are urgently needed to be able to secure access to diverse and healthy food for 9 billon people in 40 years, with the resources currently available on the planet, while curtailing current environmental degradation. Agroecology can be a source of both solutions and preventive actions for tomorrow’s problems of global agriculture. My aim is to develop agroecological knowledge able to contribute alternative solutions to the major challenges facing current agriculture, namely:
- global food security;
- provision of ecological services;
- food and environmental health;
- adaptation to climate change; and
- preservation of the biological and cultural diversity of agricultural landscapes.
My research integrates processes across scales and disciplines, from the soil or the field plot to the landscape, and the role of human agency in agroecosystem design, from individual decision-making to collective action. I approach agroecology from the perspective of actors, landscapes and systems design. Many of these ideas are expressed in my inaugural lecture as Full Professor at Wageningen University: