A Transformative (r)Evolution of the Research on Agriculture through Fostering Human-Nature Connectedness—A Special Issue Editorial
- Integrating Natural and Social Considerations for the Transformation of Agri-Food Systems
- Transdisciplinarity as a Driver of Policy Changes and Sustainability Learning in Agri-Food Systems
- Shifting the Paradigm in the Research on Agriculture
- From “crops” to “agroecosystems”. Reducing the consideration of agricultural systems to just crops implies treating food only as a commodity, and therefore, to something that can be easily displaced far from its place of origin. On the contrary, when looking at crops within agroecosystems, it is acknowledged that food—a provisioning service—is produced through complex socio-ecological relationships, and therefore, its production has an impact on many different ecosystem services (e.g., soil fertility, biodiversity, climate regulation, and culture). Thereby, recognizing agri-food systems as coupled human–environment systems would support enhanced sustainability outcomes from agroecosystems.
- From the “plot” to the “landscape” vision of a “farm”. The scale of a plot does not include the many ecological relationships that are taking place at the landscape level. A farm should be managed as a whole, as a habitat, instead of being perceived as a set of plots that can be managed separately. Future research should be focused on the farm level, in order to capture different socio-ecological impacts. In addition, this scale may make the multiple human–nature connections that these areas provide visible.
- From “agriculture” to “(agri) food systems”. Agriculture is just one part of the whole agri-food system. By tackling only one side of the system we are avoiding the consumption side as well as the socio-cultural aspects of food production. In order to achieve sustainability, it will be mandatory to consider the multiple dimensions of agri-food systems, as well as the telecouplings associated with them.
- From “food as a commodity” to a sustainable food system of “landscape products”. The study of agri-food systems is more than just studying the interactions along the supply chain or the food network. It should also imply the study of the social–ecological conditions and the non-chain actors in the areas of production. In this sense, the incorporation of landscape products as a way to consider food from multiple (ecological, social, and economic) dimensions will promote more resilient social–ecological systems .
- From the “social”, “ecological” or “agronomic” perspectives to the “transdisciplinarity” vision. Agri-food systems should be addressed by people with different epistemologies, backgrounds and perspectives, tackling it as a complex system with multiple ramifications and interlinkages, which requires the alignment of scientific advances, policy needs, and societal concerns at different scales to transit collectively towards sustainability.
- From the “top-down/hierarchical and sectoral decision-making”, to the “inclusive and integrative governance’’. So far, traditional governance approaches based on top-down models and sectoral policies across different scales have not necessarily resulted in positive outcomes for sustainability. The active participation of stakeholders and local communities in governance systems is increasingly recognized as crucial to strengthening the links between governmental and non-governmental institutions to: (1) facilitate social learning processes that encourage building understanding and trust in the sustainability framework, and (2) promote the policy community and the rest of society to act as agents of change to advance together towards sustainability. Moreover, the articulation of institutional efforts at multiple scales and sectors is pivotal in developing coherent policies and actions that support biodiversity conservation and human well-being. By implementing inclusive and integrative governance approaches it would be possible to develop the policy and social changes needed to implement sustainable transformative transitions in agri-food systems.
Conflicts of Interest
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Vicente-Vicente, J.L.; Quintas-Soriano, C.; López-Rodríguez, M.D. A Transformative (r)Evolution of the Research on Agriculture through Fostering Human-Nature Connectedness—A Special Issue Editorial. Agriculture 2022, 12, 522. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12040522
Vicente-Vicente JL, Quintas-Soriano C, López-Rodríguez MD. A Transformative (r)Evolution of the Research on Agriculture through Fostering Human-Nature Connectedness—A Special Issue Editorial. Agriculture. 2022; 12(4):522. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12040522Chicago/Turabian Style
Vicente-Vicente, José Luis, Cristina Quintas-Soriano, and María D. López-Rodríguez. 2022. "A Transformative (r)Evolution of the Research on Agriculture through Fostering Human-Nature Connectedness—A Special Issue Editorial" Agriculture 12, no. 4: 522. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12040522