In the coming years agriculture will have to adapt to multiple converging challenges: increasing climate extremes and water scarcity, increasing carbon costs, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and the emergence of pesticide/herbicide resistance in pests and weeds. This 10-week graduate-level seminar will be organized around readings from the recent book Darwinian Agriculture, by R. Ford Denison, and additional readings to help situate discussion in a broader agroecosystem context. Guest faculty presenters will include Ford Denison, Gary Nabhan and others. Students are encouraged to present their own questions to help guide discussion. Course sessions will be facilitated by Dr. Michelle Wander, and ASAP Scholars Rafter Ferguson and Ron Revord.
- •Explore the limitations of conventional thinking about both biotech and ‘ecological’ agriculture
- •Use insights from evolutionary ecology to evaluate constraints and opportunities in crop improvement and agroecosystem planning
- •Understand how evolutionary processes can be leveraged to improve the performance of agricultural systems.
“[To] all those researchers, institutes and companies whose research aim it is to face the challenge of a growing world population that needs to be fed on a planet on which the climate is rapidly changing [...] Denison’s arguments are convincing and we as humans may be missing out on a bright future if we ignore this book.” – Duur K. Aanen, Evolution.