As a child of America’s Dairyland and conservationist Aldo Leopold’s home (yes, that would be Wisconsin), I always loved how agriculture and ecology dominated the scenery. Driving through the state, though, I usually only spotted those two vistas out opposite windows. On the one side, agriculture: vast landscapes of corn fields, pastures, or orchards, dotted with farm equipment, cows, or hay bales. On the other, something more reminiscent of ecology: patchworks of prairies, lakes, and forests, teeming with birds, bugs, and other critters.
Agriculture and ecology: two separate environments, therefore two separate fields of study, right? Or, maybe not…. Integrating these two fields (what we call “agroecology”) simply calls for using science to understand and benefit from the interactions of our soils, crops, and livestock with our air, water, climate, wildlife, and biodiversity. This approach just makes sense.