Ecosystem services and Australian agricultural enterprises

Harpinder Sandhu, Neville Crossman, F. Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

    42 Citations (Scopus)


    The role of ecosystem services in agro-ecosystems is often poorly understood by those in agricultural production. Yet food production, itself an ecosystem service, is critical to the survival of humanity and dominates much of the world's terrestrial and marine environments. There is a need to address the under-estimation of ecosystem services in farmland and develop concepts, policies and methods to evaluate them. In this paper, we develop a conceptual framework and consult with agro-industry experts to identify the impacts of different agricultural practices on ecosystem services. We also identify the ecosystem services crucial to the long term functioning of agroecosystems in Australia. Our results demonstrate that the regulating ecosystem services are the most relevant to all of the agriculture sectors we examined. Most concern is the recognised impact that the agricultural sector has had on ecosystem services provision. Results from our survey indicate that the agricultural sector in Australia negatively impacts on all regulating and supporting ecosystem services, despite the importance of these services in the process of agricultural production. We conclude with various policy arguments for better and more explicit recognition of ecosystem services in the management of agroecosystems.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)19-26
    Number of pages8
    JournalEcological Economics
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


    • Agroecosystems
    • Dependence
    • Ecosystem services
    • Impacts
    • NVivo 8


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