"Sustainable agriculture is farming in sustainable ways based on an understanding of ecosystem services, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. Sustainable agriculture can be understood as an ecosystem approach to agriculture. Practices that can cause long-term damage to soil include excessive tilling of the soil and irrigation without adequate drainage. Long-term experiments have provided some of the best data on how various practices affect soil properties essential to sustainability. In the United States a federal agency, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, specializes in providing technical and financial assistance for those interested in pursuing natural resource conservation and production agriculture as compatible goals.
In light of concerns about food security, human population growth and dwindling land suitable for agriculture, sustainable intensive farming practices are needed to maintain high crop yields, while maintaining soil health and ecosystem services. The capacity for ecosystem services to be strong enough to allow a reduction in use of synthetic, nonrenewable inputs whilst maintaining or even boosting yields has been the subject of much debate. Recent work in the globally important irrigated rice production system of east Asia has suggested that - in relation to pest management at least—promoting the ecosystem service of biological control using nectar plants can reduce the need for insecticides by 70% whilst delivering a 5% yield advantage compared with standard practice.
Sustainable agriculture has become a topic of interest in the international policy arena, especially with regards to its potential to reduce the risks associated with a changing climate and growing human population. The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, as part of its recommendations for policy makers on achieving food security in the face of climate change, urged that sustainable agriculture must be integrated into national and international policy. The Commission stressed that increasing weather variability and climate shocks will negatively affect agricultural yields, necessitating early action to drive change in agricultural production systems towards increasing resilience. It also called for dramatically increased investments in sustainable agriculture in the next decade, including in national research and development budgets, land rehabilitation, economic incentives, and infrastructure improvement.
This book has been written in easy and fluent language expressive and self-explanatory labelled diagrams, concise but not too brief, written to the point starting from fundamentals and finishing to the most advanced and current concepts. All diagrams have been provided with detailed legends. Some diagrams have been drawn the author himself from the original source, while the remaining ones are quoted from the authentic works."