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V International Course on Agroecological Restoration: Resilience to Climate Change

Summary

Rural landscapes face the challenge of adapting to climate change while providing food and ecosystem services for a growing population. Resilient agroecosystems are those capable of recovering their structure and function after extreme climatic events and other disturbances. Such resiliency can be strengthened through a combination of sustainable agricultural practices based on the principles of agroecology and the restoration of surrounding ecosystems to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services.
This course will present the principles of agroecology and ecological restoration and will explore the synergies between both disciplines for climate change adaptation. Course activities will take place in two sites that combine vigorous farming systems with forest conservation and restoration efforts in the Valle del Cauca department of Colombia: El Hatico Nature Reserve (municipality of El Cerrito) and the rural community of Bellavista (municipality of El Dovio).

Content

The course will combine lectures on agroecology, ecological restoration and sustainable cattle ranching with field visits and a group project in which course participants will be asked to apply the concepts learned throughout the course to solve a specific problem. Most lectures and field exercises will take place at El Hatico Nature Reserve, ELTI’s main training landscape in Colombia, which combines silvopastoral systems, organic sugar cane, forestry, restoration and conservation activities. A one-day field trip to the community of Bellavista, in the western Andes will illustrate the principles of agroecology and forest restoration applied in small properties. ELTI alumni from this community will coordinate and facilitate all field activities and lectures.

Module 1: Agroecology

  • Principles and applications
  • Functional biodiversity in agroecosystems
  • Transitioning to agroecological food production

Module 2: Ecological Restoration

 

  • Principles and applications
  • Restoring agricultural landscapes

Module 3: Examples and case studies of Agroecological Restoration

 

  • Building resilience in agroecosystems
  • Sustainable cattle ranching
  • Organic sugar cane
  • El Hatico Nature Reserve
  • Participatory restoration at a small rural community (El Dovio)