Our research group uses the concepts of agroecology to obtain a deep understanding of the nature of agroecosystems and the principles by which they function. Throughout our research and writings we have aided in the emergence of agroecology as the discipline that provides the basic ecological principles for how to study, design, and manage sustainable agroecosystems that are both productive and natural resource conserving, and that are also culturally-sensitive, socially-just and economically viable. In particular, our research has focused on the ways in which biodiversity can contribute to the design of pest-stable agroecosystems. Several of our studies concentrate on elucidating the effects of intercropping, covercropping, weed management, and crop-field border vegetation manipulation on pest population density and damage and on the mechanisms enhancing biological control in diversified systems.
Our research has also extended into Latin America where the enhancement of biodiversity in agriculture can help the great mass of resource-poor farmers to achieve year-round food self-sufficiency, reduce their reliance on chemical inputs and develop agroecosystems that rebuild the production capacities of their small land holdings. Our approach has consisted of devising integrated farming systems that are diversified and resilient to climate change and conform the basis for local and regional food sovereignty. Much of this work is conducted through inter-institutional partnerships with NGOs, farmers organizations and members of the Sociedad Cientifica LatinAmericana de Agroecologia (SOCLA).
Doctor Honoris Causa Université Catholique de Louvaine, Belgium