The Demise of Conventional Agriculture
- Biological pest control: Non-crop environments provide habitat and numerous food sources for natural insect and parasite predators, like insectivorous birds and bats. These organisms provide an ecosystem service to the agroecosytem by naturally controlling pests.
- Pollination: 35-40% of the total volume of food produced by crops rely on animal pollination. Insects and animals provide the ecosystem service of pollination in agricultural settings as well as almost all other places on earth.
- Water quantity and quality: Vegetation in natural ecosystems regulates capture, infiltration, retention, and flow of water, throughout the habitat. Soil and plants act as a filter for the incoming water, purifying it naturally, providing an essential ecosystem service. The plants' roots keep hold of the soil, reducing erosion. Plant cover also largely regulates many other aspects of the soil including water retention.
- Soil structure and fertility: Aeration and abundance of organic matter in soils are essential to nutrient uptake by crops. The presence of plant cover produces litter for decomposition and nutrients, and the movement of invertebrates through the soil creates aeration. Many micro and macro organisms in the soil, such as earthworms and bacteria, regulate the decomposition and availability of nutrients to crops, also providing a fundamental ecosystem service. (Power, 2010).