An agroecosystem is a cultivated ecosystem, generally corresponding to the spatial unit of a farm and whose ecosystem functions are valued by humans in the form of agricultural goods and services. It is thus co-produced by nature and humans.
Agroecosystems are ecosystems composed of both abiotic and biotic elements that interact with each other and the surrounding environment. Agroecosystem are always integrated in a social, economic and ecological environment, and are part of flows (energy, watter) and mechanisms (nutrient cycles, pests and diseases biological control, pollen transfer, etc.). Hence, they are characterized by a structural and dynamic complexity arising from interactions between socio-economic processes (interactions between social and economic factors) and ecological ones (functional links between organisms and their environment) in which hey are embedded.
Management of agroecosystems hence seeks for agricultural production systems that reproduce as much as possible natural mechanisms of ecosystems (such as ecological balance between pests and their natural enemies), so that they are moving forward towards agroecological transition.
References to explore
Conway, Gordon R. 1987. The Properties of Agroecosystems. Agricultural Systems 24 (2), 95-117.
Gliessman, S. 2006. Agroecology: The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems, Second Edition. CRC Press.
Sociedad Cientifica Latino Americana de Agroecologia (SOCLA). Agroecology: Concepts, Principles and Applications. Contribution to FAO. Retrieved November 12, 2017.