Agro-ecology means to use animals in agro-ecosystems such as to trigger long-term sustainability.

The ways in which animals are incorporated into agro-ecosystems and food systems determine whether and how livestock production can be environmentally beneficial or detrimental.

Currently, agro-ecology addresses the whole food chain, from food production to distribution and consumption.

Reviews proposed five agroecological principles to be optimised in animal production systems (Dumont et al. 2013):

  1. adopting management practices that aim to improve animal health
  2. reducing the inputs required for production
  3. reducing pollution by optimising the biogeochemical functioning of farming systems
  4. enhancing diversity within animal production systems to strengthen their resilience
  5. preserving biodiversity by adapting management practices

G4AE will focus to identify and assess grassroots innovations:

1. Affecting production costs and product value
  • reduction of forage costs by replacing supplements with fresh grass
  • utilisation of tools to better assess the value of grass as a forage
  • reduce farm workload
  • increase the market value of animal products, through increased quality and food certification schemes
2. The link between ecology and society
  • biodiversity
  • nutrient cycling
  • regenerating soil
  • greenhouse gases (GHG) reduction
  • product quality for consumers
3. Animal welfare
  • animal health and welfare across grass-based nutrition and herd management
  • grazing management to minimise the threat of large carnivores (reduce agriculture – wild-life conflicts)