This book critically examines the idea that the sustainability of agriculture could be improved by mimicking the structure and processes occurring in natural ecosystems. Researchers from around the world present comparative studies of multi-species farming systems, natural ecosystems and conventional agriculture. Case studies from Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and North and South America examine the implications of increasing the complexity of farming systems on water and nutrient cycling, productivity and resilience. Theoretical issues discussed include the role of biodiversity in agriculture, the trade-off between perenniality and productivity, the choice to integrate or segregate production and conservation in an agricultural landscape, and the social and economic challenges to adopting complex farming systems. One section is devoted to the application of this concept in southern Australia, where 15 million hectares of land are expected to be affected by salinity by the middle of the next century unless there is a significant change in agricultural practice.
As atmospheric CO2 increases there will almost certainly be alterations in soil carbon fluxes. It is likely that such alterations will be accompanied by changes in the partitioning of carbon between organic structures and to soil processes. These changes have the potential for further altering the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems. While there has been increasing recognition of the importance of soil-mediated responses to global climate change, the nature and magnitude of these responses are not well understood. In an effort to expand our assessment of the significance of belowground responses to rising atmospheric CO2, a workshop has been organized that resulted in the peer-reviewed contributions that are contained in this volume.
The symposium "Pacific Salmon and Their Ecosystems: Status and Future Options',' and this book resulted from initial efforts in 1992 by Robert J. Naiman and Deanna J. Stouder to examine the problem of declining Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.). Our primary goal was to determine informational gaps. As we explored different scientific sources, state, provincial, and federal agencies, as well as non-profit and fishing organizations, we found that the information existed but was not being communicated across institutional and organizational boundaries. At this juncture, we decided to create a steering committee and plan a symposium to bring together researchers, managers, and resource users. The steering committee consisted of members from state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and private industry (see Acknowledgments for names and affiliations). In February 1993, we met at the University of Washington in Seattle to begin planning the symposium. The steering committee spent the next four months developing the conceptual framework for the symposium and the subsequent book. Our objectives were to accomplish the following: (1) assess changes in anadromous Pacific Northwest salmonid populations, (2) examine factors responsible for those changes, and (3) identify options available to society to restore Pacific salmon in the Northwest. The symposium on Pacific Salmon was held in Seattle, Washington, January 10-12, 1994. Four hundred and thirty-five people listened to oral presentations and examined more than forty posters over two and a half days. We made a deliberate attempt to draw in speakers and attendees from outside the Pacific Northwest.
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