A network perspective for sustainable agroecosystems

Trends Plant Sci. 2022 Aug;27(8):769-780. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2022.04.002. Epub 2022 Apr 29.


Nature-based management aims to improve sustainable agroecosystem production, but its efficacy has been variable. We argue that nature-based agroecosystem management could be significantly improved by explicitly considering and manipulating the underlying networks of species interactions. A network perspective can link species interactions to ecosystem functioning and stability, identify influential species and interactions, and suggest optimal management approaches. Recent advances in predicting the network roles of species from their functional traits could allow direct manipulation of network architecture through additions or removals of species with targeted traits. Combined with improved understanding of the structure and dynamics of networks across spatial and temporal scales and interaction types, including social-ecological, applying these tools to nature-based management can contribute to sustainable agroecosystems.

Keywords: ecological intensification; ecosystem functioning; functional traits; nature-based management; species interactions; sustainability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Ecosystem*