Organiser: Reiner Braun, Federation of German Scientists
Professor Dr. Hartmut Vogtmann, Germany
Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher, GB/Germany
Professor Dr. Miguel Angel Altieri, USA
Moderator: Professor Dr. Maria Finkh
Outline: How should we understand soil productivity from a sustainable perspective?
Since the end of World War II the industrialisation of agricultural practices has been the leading scientific paradigm. However since Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring" (1962) documented the far-reaching impact of pesticide use on plants, birds and other organisms, we have also learned about the gradual impact of mineral fertilizers and other chemical and pharmaceutical inputs on soil productivity. Soil degradation, depletion and erosion are worldwide threats to food security. Thus we need a paradigm shift regarding productivity, one that includes all natural cycles in the soil and interactions between soils and plants. We have to think in a radical new way about what productivity means, and discuss measures for sustainable management of the natural capacity of healthy soils.
A New Conservation Paradigm
by Ivette Perfectoa and John Vandermeer:
Here we make the argument that the conservation paradigm that focuses on
setting aside pristine forests while ignoring the agricultural landscape is a failed strategy in light ofwhat is nowconventionalwisdom in ecology.Given the fragmented nature of most tropical ecosystems, agricultural landscapes should be an essential component of any conservation strategy.