29 April 2022
- Nature-based management uses biodiversity and targeted biotic introductions to improve sustainable agroecosystem production, but results have been variable.
- A network perspective can drive research to improve the future design and efficacy of nature-based agroecosystem management.
- Species interaction networks affect and explain ecosystem functioning and stability. Recent advances in network research provide tools for identifying the roles and interaction network structure of species based on their functional traits, integrating multiple types of species interaction, and predicting indirect effects across spatial and temporal scales.
- Applying these tools can help to predict the impacts of intentional or accidental species additions and removals on ecosystem functioning and stability, and contribute to sustainable agroecosystem production through nature-based management in the face of global change.
Nature-based management aims to improve sustainable agroecosystem production, but its efficacy has been variable. We argue that nature-based agroecosystem management could be significantly improved by explicitly considering and manipulating the underlying networks of species interactions. A network perspective can link species interactions to ecosystem functioning and stability, identify influential species and interactions, and suggest optimal management approaches. Recent advances in predicting the network roles of species from their functional traits could allow direct manipulation of network architecture through additions or removals of species with targeted traits. Combined with improved understanding of the structure and dynamics of networks across spatial and temporal scales and interaction types, including social-ecological, applying these tools to nature-based management can contribute to sustainable agroecosystems.