Does sustainable intensification offer a pathway to improved food security for aquatic agricultural system-dependent communities?

Attwood, Simon J., Park, Sarah, Loos, Jacqueline, Phillips, Michael, Mills, David, and McDougall, Cynthia (2017) Does sustainable intensification offer a pathway to improved food security for aquatic agricultural system-dependent communities? In: Öborn, Ingrid, Vanlauwe, Bernard, Phillips, Michael, Thomas, Richard, Brooijmand, Willemien, and Atta-Krah, Kwesi, (eds.) Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture: an integrated systems research approach. Earthscan Food and Agriculture Series . Routledge, London, UK, pp. 71-87.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


Aquatic agricultural systems (AAS) are diverse production and livelihood systems that occur along inland lakes and rivers, freshwater floodplains, estuarine deltas and coasts. These diverse production systems are typically characterised by seasonal changes in productivity and water availability, driven by periodic variation in rainfall, river flow and/or coastal and marine processes (WorldFish, 2011). Globally, AAS are highly significant; first, they cover vast areas of the non-OECD 1 world, with approximately 2.5 million km2 of inland AAS coverage and a further 2 million km2 of coastal system coverage (Béné and Teoh, 2014). This represents approximately 27% of the non-OECD cultivated area. Second, an estimated 500 million people are dependent on AAS in the non-OECD world, with approximately three-quarters of this number dependent on inland systems. This represents approximately 16% of the total estimated rural population in non-OECD countries (Béné and Teoh, 2014). Within AAS, food production and livelihoods depend on diverse activities and resources. Interdependent terrestrial and aquatic resource uses include agricultural practices (e.g. fish farming, crops, livestock), considerably supplemented by wild harvested foods (e.g. caught fish) from native ecosystems. This diversity of production and resource-use options is coupled with or based on high agricultural and wild biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. Community well-being within AAS heavily depends on the various ecosystem services these systems provide, as well as processes and institutions which mediate access to services. However, AAS and their beneficial characteristics are extremely sensitive to environmental changes, thus rendering communities vulnerable to ecosystem shocks and disturbances (Halwart, 2006; WorldFish, 2011; Weeratunge et al., 2012; Castine et al., 2013). Implicit in this are issues relating to rights and equitable access to the benefits of this productivity (Birch et al., 2014; Loos et al., 2014), where ‘distribution gaps’ may be more important than ‘yield gaps’ and ‘nutrition gaps’ (Pinstrup-Andersen, 2009; Tscharntke et al., 2012). Consequently, the 72productive intensification of these systems through approaches that are both ecologically meaningful and socially and economically equitable is a high priority. Box 5.1 provides an example of the complex interaction of components in the AAS of the Barotse floodplain in Zambia, and the ingenuity of those that manage and depend upon them.

Item ID: 53934
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-317-21201-0
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2018 05:43
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300202 Agricultural land management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960904 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Land Management @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960905 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Water Management @ 50%
Downloads: Total: 1
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page