SWG 1 – ES in Agricultural production systems

1. Introduction & Objectives

Although agriculture during the Green Revolution, based on improved germplasm and support of irrigation, fertilisers and pesticides, was able to increase food production in the second half of the 20th century, its consequences on human and environment health are of growing concern. Moreover, the steady increase in agricultural productivity has plateaued in many countries. At the same time, to meet the food demand of growing human population, with limited availability of additional arable land (and knowing its consequences on biodiversity and ecosystem services), current agriculture is looking for alternatives. The current challenges of agriculture are to, increase productivity per unit area and utilise inputs more efficiently; develop resilience against climatic variability; improve ecosystem functions/services to partially replace non-renewable inputs and minimise impacts on environment; and contribute to the well-being of rural populations

A new paradigm shift is required to fast track development of sustainable agriculture to overcome above challenges and develop integrated agricultural systems that are efficient, resilient and include agro-ecological techniques that enhance contribution of ecosystem services. Global agriculture also needs to internalise and appreciate the value of ecosystem services into farming. This information then can be used to shape local and global agricultural policies to achieve food security and sustainable development goals.

Therefore Agro-ecosystems sectoral working group aims to bring together the current knowledge about the contribution of ecosystem services, trade-offs and ways to balance provisioning and regulating services by using agro-ecological techniques through case studies from around the globe, representing both developed and developing countries. This will improve our understanding to develop sustainable agriculture that can address long-term sustainability, provide food security and contribute towards the well-being of rural populations. The specific aim and objectives of the group are mentioned below.

      Aim: To internalise the value of ecosystem services (ES) in agriculture and to shape local and global agricultural policies to achieve food security and sustainable development goals.


  • Economic value of ES in global agro-ecosystems – develop database of values
  • Analysis of trade-offs associated with agro-ecosystems and ES
  • Identify approaches or methods to enhance ES in agro-ecosystems.
  • Identify different farming practices that improve ES in farmland
  • Develop diversified and sustainable agricultural systems
  •     Communicate our work to communities at large


  • Long term solution based on ecosystem based approach
  • Role of public-private partnerships

2. Lead Team & Members

  • Harpinder Sandhu, School of the Environment, Flinders University, Australia. Chair and Coordinator.
  • Steve Wratten,  Bio-protection Research Centre, Lincoln University, New Zealand.
  • Pushpam Kumar,  Ecosystem Services Economics Unit of Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi.
  • G. Cesare Pacini, University of Florence (UNIFI-DISPAA), Italy
  • Mario V.Balzan, Institute of Applied Science, Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST)

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Lead team, please contact the current lead team members.

If you are interested in becoming a member of this Working group, please click here.


Name Institution E-mail
Natalia Sirina Centre de Recherches et d’Etudes Interdisciplinaires sur le Développement Durable (CREIDD), Université de technologie de Troyes, France Natalia.Sirina@utt.fr
Estelle J. Dominati AgResearch, New Zealand estelle.dominati@agresearch.co.nz
Louise Bellet Independent Researcher louise.bellet@gmail
Juan  Pablo Iñamagua Uyaguari Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Turrialba, Costa Rica jinamagua@catie.ac.cr
Kurt Siegmar Thomas Dresden University of Technology, Germany siegmar.thomas@mailbox.tu-dresden.de
Paloma Esteve Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain paloma.esteve@upm.es
Jose M. Rey-Benayas University of Alcala, Spain josem.rey@uah.es
Anderson Oliveira Latini Universidade Federal de São João del-Rei – UFSJ, Brazil aolatini@ufsj.edu.br
Uri Ramon OLI – Open Landscape Institute uriramon@bezeqint.net


David N. Barton Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) david.barton@nina.no
Cibele Longo Federal University of Santa Catarina/UFSC longoc@cca.ufsc.br


Abdon Luiz Schmitt Federal University of Santa Catarina/UFSC abdonfilho@hotmail.com
Remco Van Ek Deltares, Unit Subsurface and Groundwater Systems, AL Utrecht, The Netherlands Remco.vanEk@deltares.nl
Violeta Hevia Universidad Autónoma de Madrid violeta.hevia@uam.es
G. Ignacio Díaz Gálvez Universidad Austral de Chile gustavoidg@gmail.com
Fanny Valerie B. University of Liege – Gembloux, Belgium f.boeraeve@ulg.ac.be
Clotilde De Montpellier University of Namur, Belgium Clotilde.demontpellier@unamur.de
Bruno Rapidel CIRAD/CATIE Costa Rica Bruno.rapidel@cirad.fr
Paul Hughes Flinders University Australia hugh0223@flinders.edu.au
Ando Aulia Flinders University Australia ando.aulia@flinders.edu.au
 Christopher Baldock  Trucost, UK  chris.baldock@trucost.com


3. More Information

This group organised a special session at the 7th ESP conference Sept 8-12, 2014 in Costa Rica. The special session entitled, ‘Integrated Agricultural Systems to Enhance Ecosystem Services’ attracted speakers from 14 different countries and presented leading research on the topic at the sessionhttp://www.espconference.org/ESP_Conference/83098/5/0/60

Major achievements of the session

  • Better understanding on internalising the value of ecosystem services in agriculture and
  • Relevance and contribution towards agricultural policies to achieve food s

ecurity and sustainable development goals.

Future Plans

  • Synthesis paper on integrated agricultural systems, including multiple authors who presented at the session, is in progress with inputs from this session. Focus is on development of a conceptual framework that builds on current ecological intensification model, with case studies presented at the session.
  • We will recruit more members in the working group this year.
  • Improve web presence.

Key publications

Ghaley B, Porter J, Sandhu H. (2015) Relationship between C:N/C:O stoichiometry and ecosystem services in managed production systems. PLoS One 10(4): e0123869. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123869.

Feng Y, Wratten S, Sandhu H, Keller M (2015) Host Plants affect the foraging success of two parasitoids that attack light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). PLoS One 10(4): e0124773. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124773.

‘Ecosystem Services in Agricultural and Urban Landscapes’ edited by Steve Wratten, Harpinder Sandhu, Robert Costanza and Ross Cullen, 2013. www.wiley.com/buy/978-1-4051-7008-6

Sandhu H, Wratten S, Costanza R, Pretty J, Porter J, Reganold J. (2015) Global significance of non-traded ecosystem services on farmland. PEERJ 3:e762. https://peerj.com/articles/762/

Ghaley B, Porter J, Sandhu H. (2014). Soil-based ecosystem services: A synthesis of nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration assessment methods. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 10, 177-186.

Sandhu H, Crossman N, Smith F (2012) Ecosystem services and Australian agricultural enterprises. Ecological Economics 74, 19-26.

Sandhu HS, Wratten SD, Cullen R (2010). The role of supporting ecosystem services in arable farmland. Ecological Complexity 7, 302-310.

Sandhu HS, Wratten SD, Cullen R, (2010). Organic agriculture and ecosystem services. Environmental Science and Policy 13, 1-7.

Porter J, Costanza R, Sandhu H, Sigsgaard L, Wratten S (2009). The value of producing food, energy and ecosystem services within an agro-ecosystem. Ambio 38, 186-193.

Sandhu, H.S., Wratten, S.D., Cullen, R., Case, B. (2008) The future of farming: the value of ecosystem services in conventional and organic arable land. An experimental approach. Ecological Economics 64, 835-848.

Sandhu, H.S., Wratten, S.D., Cullen, R. (2007). From poachers to gamekeepers: perceptions of farmers towards ecosystem services. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 5, 39-50.
Related Networks & Projects

Our group’s engagement through other related projects is mentioned below,

Sustainable Agriculture and Integrated Livelihoods Network: A discussion forum and blog for sharing knowledge with communities. Read more about ‘Ecosystems and Well-being’ athttp://harpindersandhu.blogspot.com.au/2012_05_01_archive.html

Social media







IPBES project: Thematic assessment of Pollination at UN IPBES http://www.ipbes.net/

Ecosystem services research at the Bio-protection Centre, New Zealand, led by Prof Steve Wratten athttp://bioprotection.org.nz/research/programme/ecosystem-services

UNEP Project on Food Security in India and Uganda at

Economics of Land Degradation initiative: Data and methodology group (http://eld-initiative.org). Participated in Geographically Appropriate Integrated Agriculture ‘GAIA’ Workshop held at Lincoln University in April 2015.

Land use change and ecosystem services in mid-North South Australia. Exploring value of ecosystem services in Australian agriculture. School of the Environment, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.http://www.flinders.edu.au/science_engineering/environment/home.cfm

ANESCO Project: Identifying and Assessing Natural Assets and Ecosystem Services in the City of Onkaparinga, South Australia (ANESCO). School of the Environment, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.