Fig. 1. Conceptual model of a Diversified Farming System.

Fig. 1

Across ecological scales, DFS practices include the use of: (Red, plot scale) multiple genetic varieties within a single crop or livestock species, or multiple species intercropped, including agroforestry, and/or integration of livestock, (yellow, field scale), crop rotations, cover-cropping/green manuring, or fallowing, all examples of practices that vary the planting in a given field over time, (green, field perimeter scale), planting of hedgerows or grassy buffer strips around crops, (light and dark blue, landscape scale), inclusion of woodlots, meadows, pastures, riparian corridors and other natural or semi-natural habitats in the cropped area. These practices lead to spatially heterogeneous farming systems, from plot to landscape scale, that intentionally include some aspects of biodiversity, while supporting others unintentionally. By supporting this “agrobiodiversity” (green box), these farming practices promote critical ecosystem services, such as nutrient and water cycling, soil formation, pest and disease control and pollination, as designated by the lines joining each farming practice to each service. Across temporal scales, these farming practices plus the natural successional processes enhance agrobiodiversity and ecosystem services dynamically.