From nature-negative to nature-positive production

EU project stamp: 
Main entity: 
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)
Type of entity: 
UN Agency
Key themes: 
Food security
Sustainable management
Sustainable use
Water security
Societal challenges: 
Biodiversity Enhancement
Climate Resilience
Food security
Water Management

Following the 2021 United Nations Food System Summit call for implementing nature-positive production, this document provides an overview on the conceptual, theoretical and operational aspects of nature-positive production agriculture.

The concept of nature-positive production revolves around the possible synergies between ecosystem restoration and food/biomass production and among biodiversity, nature and agriculture. This document tries to answer such questions as “What does nature positive exactly mean?” and “How can agriculture aid in ecosystem restoration?” The thermodynamic perspective is chosen as the privileged viewpoint that allows for a joint analysis from both an ecological and agronomic perspective. This document discusses the inherent functioning of agroecosystems by analysing how ecosystems naturally develop their own sustainability and productivity; it concludes that the most critical systemic features in this regard are complexity, energy storage and energy mobilization capacities. In agroecosystems, these three features are mostly linked with biomass availability, biodiversity, soil health and landscape diversity. The nexus of biodiversity and productivity is therefore uncovered, highlighting the need for a renewed relationship between biodiversity and agriculture.

After defining the most relevant theoretical aspects of nature-positive production agriculture, this document provides methodologies for assessing the energy efficiency of an agroecosystem and its agroecological performance. Finally, five priority operational areas are proposed to lead the actual implementation of NPPA: soil and water conservation; soil improvement; evolutionary populations; integrating crops, forestry, livestock and aquaculture; and integrated pest management. The reports includes a full section on agroecological Nature-based Solutions