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Copyright © 2006 Ecoagriculture Partners All rights reserved. Sections of this report may be reproduced without the express permission of but with acknowledgment to Ecoagriculture Partners. Contact info@ecoagriculture.org for permission to reprint.

Understanding Ecoagriculture: A Framework for Measuring Landscape Performance

Ecoagriculture Discussion Paper No. 2

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Date

December 4, 2006

Short Summary

Ecoagriculture is already being practiced in hundreds of locations worldwide, with promising results for regions where biodiversity conservation, food production, and poverty alleviation are all high priorities. The framework provides an approach to measuring the performance of entire landscapes with respect to the goals of ecoagriculture.

Summary

Widely used approach faces lack of comprehensive metrics

Ecoagriculture is already being practiced in hundreds of locations worldwide, with promising results for regions where biodiversity conservation, food production, and poverty alleviation are all high priorities. In particular, given that protected areas alone are often inadequate to conserve unique species and ecosystems, ecoagriculture is a promising approach for accommodating significant biodiversity in the inhabited parts of biodiverse regions. Yet our understanding of ecoagricultural systems and our ability to improve them, replicate them, and scale them up is hindered by the lack of a comprehensive framework for measuring and monitoring the performance of ecoagriculture landscapes over time.

Framework resulted from year-plus dialogue

The goal of this paper, therefore, is to propose such a framework and discuss how it may be implemented in diverse landscapes worldwide. Over the past year and a half, many people have contributed to a dialogue about how best to measure the performance of ecoagriculture landscapes. The culmination of this dialogue, which has occurred through interviews, literature reviews, two workshops, and a graduate seminar at Cornell University, is the framework proposed in this discussion paper.

Is the landscape moving in the right direction

The framework provides an approach to measuring the performance of entire landscapes with respect to the goals of ecoagriculture. The purpose is not to determine whether a given landscape has attained some desirable end condition, but whether it is moving in the right direction—that is, whether the management practices and resulting mosaic of land uses across the landscape are yielding progress toward the goals, individually and collectively. Locally, stakeholders who have interests in the performance of a particular landscape can set targets for meeting specific goals.

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