Ecological intensification: harnessing ecosystem services for food security

Trends Ecol Evol. 2013 Apr;28(4):230-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2012.10.012. Epub 2012 Nov 12.


Rising demands for agricultural products will increase pressure to further intensify crop production, while negative environmental impacts have to be minimized. Ecological intensification entails the environmentally friendly replacement of anthropogenic inputs and/or enhancement of crop productivity, by including regulating and supporting ecosystem services management in agricultural practices. Effective ecological intensification requires an understanding of the relations between land use at different scales and the community composition of ecosystem service-providing organisms above and below ground, and the flow, stability, contribution to yield, and management costs of the multiple services delivered by these organisms. Research efforts and investments are particularly needed to reduce existing yield gaps by integrating context-appropriate bundles of ecosystem services into crop production systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / economics
  • Agriculture / methods
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Ecology*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Environment
  • Food Supply*
  • Humans