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Comparing Organic, Agroecological and Regenerative Farming

In this three part series we present an analysis by Dr. Andrea Beste on the similarities, differences and synergies between the organic, agroecological and regenerative farming movements.  Part two here outlines the history and current status of agroecology. A German version of the entire series is also available below.

Scientific term, practice or movement?

The term “agroecology” is currently used in very different contexts. In Germany, agroecology has a long tradition as a scientific discipline, along with urban ecology and human ecology. It deals with the ecological conditions and processes of agroecosystems and the agricultural landscape as a whole. Agricultural ecology not only takes into account ecosystems that are directly subject to agricultural use, such as arable land and grassland, but also the linked natural ecosystems, such as forests and moors, and their indirect influence by agriculture i.

The discipline also includes techniques from traditional tropical agriculture, for example at the German Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture (DITSL). In the English-speaking environmental movements of the 1960s and 1980s, the term was also used to describe organic forms of agriculture. In recent years, however, the term has increasingly been used in Europe to describe a movement or agricultural practice.