The term “agro-ecology” is becoming increasingly common in scientific publications, and is used more and more often to refer to a new agricultural model that could purportedly reconcile the economic and environmental challenges in agriculture. The associated definitions vary considerably though, which can cause a measure of confusion among this sector’s professionals, researchers and the general public. This paper aims to clarify this concept’s origin, scientific and technical foundations, and the challenges it entails. We will show that agro-ecology concurrently designates a scientific discipline, a set of agricultural practices, and a social movement, and that implementation will entail a change in scale and perhaps a paradigm shift.
The notes published in the CEP Analyses series are 4 to 8 pages evaluative or prospective briefs aimed at the general public. Based on research reports, studies, expert opinions or data analysis and statistics, they propose an overview of a topical issue and favor comparative approaches.