POSTPONED: Lessons from intensifying agriculture
OCTF seminar followed by drinks – all welcome

In agriculture, intensification of production is 15 years ahead of forestry. The literature differentiates between sustainable farming, and sustainable intensification. Sustainable farming aims at a system where natural, social & human capital are not depleted by farming; Sustainable Intensification (SI) is production focused, aiming to increase production without depleting this capital. Increasingly, in agriculture, there is a call to consider the entire food chain, incorporating social and environmental safeguards. It is argued that achieving food security needs to go beyond a narrow focus on crop yields; there are concerns about wider sustainability that includes human well-being comprised of good nutrition, and healthy consumption patterns, as well as equitable distribution of food. Thus, optimal food production should also change consumption culture and not just increase production.

Did intensification in agriculture bring the expected ‘more from less’? The origins of SI lie in discussions about increasing yields, in the face of resource scarcity and environmental challenges. Is there a definition of SI that clarifies the logic on which it rests and the context and conditions within which it should be implemented?

With a background as an agricultural ecologist, Dr Barbara Smith investigates the development of sustainable, equitable food systems. She is currently Associate Professor in Agricultural Ecology and Public Science in the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University. Previous work focussed on the conservation of farmland biodiversity, developing and evaluating incentive schemes. Her current areas of research include developing targets and metrics for biodiversity, management of ecosystem service provision with a focus on pollination and the impact of agricultural intensification on ecosystem services. In India she is co-Director of the Centre for Pollination Studies at Calcutta University where they employ participatory approaches to investigate sustainable management of small-holder farming systems and have developed novel techniques for collating and integrating traditional knowledge into the scientific evidence base.
Date: 29 November 2019, 16:15 (Friday, 7th week, Michaelmas 2019)
Venue: Dyson Perrins Building, off South Parks Road OX1 3QY
Venue Details: Gottmann Room, first floor
Speaker: Dr Barbara Smith (Coventry University)
Organising department: Oxford University Centre for the Environment
Organiser: Jane Applegarth (University of Oxford, Oxford University Centre for the Environment)
Organiser contact email address:
Host: Dr Imma Oliveras (ECI, University of Oxford)
Part of: Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests
Booking required?: Required
Booking url:
Cost: Free
Audience: Public
Editor: Jane Applegarth