The potential problems of intensification could be lessened through the adoption of a systems approach to agriculture and integrated approaches to landscape management
outcomes, issues covered in detail in chapters 5 on policies and institutions and 16 on river basins.
Improving agricultural technology and management practices
e Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA 2005c) supports the view that intensifica-
tion of agricultural systems will create fewer tradeoffs with ecosystem services than will expansion. Intensification will require improvements in agricultural productivity, espe- cially in water productivity (see chapter 7 on water productivity) in water-scarce envi- ronments. However, because intensification can bring its own ecological problems, for example, through pollution or the introduction of invasive species, command and control approaches to management should be avoided (Holling and Meffe 1996). e potential problems of intensification could be lessened or avoided through the adoption of a systems approach to agriculture and integrated approaches to landscape management (see below).
Many of the chapters in this volume address agricultural techniques and improved management practices. Chapters 14 on rice and 15 on land highlight the need to consider techniques and practices that may not increase the production of one or a few specific crops but that support the provision of multiple benefits. Unless responses that restrict the potential adverse impacts of intensification are applied, intensification will not be any more environmentally and socially benign than many past agricultural practices.
Applying integrated approaches to water, agriculture, and other ecosystems Integrated policy and management approaches are increasingly seen as crucial in facilitat- ing decisionmaking and making tradeoffs between food and other ecosystem services. In- tegrated approaches have taken many forms, including integrated river basin management,
Photo 6.5 This use of wetlands in Malawi attempts to integrate multiple benets and costs
Photo by C. Max Finlayson