Dictionary of Concepts

Learn more about the key concepts in agroecology. Are you curious to understand what “phytoremediation” is? Keep reading to find out.


  • Agro-waste

    Agro-waste, also known as agricultural waste, refers to the organic waste generated as a by-product of agricultural activities such as crop production, livestock farming, and forestry. It includes crop residues, manure, animal bedding, wood chips, and other plant and animal materials that are no longer needed or useful in the production process. 

    Agro-waste can be a significant environmental issue if not managed properly, as it can lead to soil degradation, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. However, it can also be a valuable resource if recycled or reused through various processes such as composting, anaerobic digestion, and bioenergy production. Reference: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/agricultural-waste

  • Agroecology

    Defined by the FAO: “simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of food and agricultural systems. It seeks to optimise the interactions between plants, animals, humans, and the environment while taking into consideration the social aspects that need to be addressed for a sustainable and fair food system.” Reference: https://www.fao.org/agroecology/overview/en/

  • Agroforestry

    Agroforestry is the integration of woody vegetation, crops and/or livestock on the same area of land. Trees can be inside parcels or on the boundaries (hedges). Reference: http://www.europeanagroforestry.eu/about/agroforestry-europe


  • Conventional farming

    A farming method that includes the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified organisms, allowing this type of farms to be less depending on cultural (crop rotation, inclusion of crops fixing atmospheric nitrogen), biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity


  • Ecological or ecosystem resilience

    Ecological resilience can be defined in two ways. The first is a measure of the magnitude of disturbance that can be absorbed before the (eco)system changes its structure by changing the variables and processes that control behaviour. The second, a more traditional meaning, is as a measure of resistance to disturbance and the speed of return to the equilibrium state of an ecosystem. Reference: EEA: https://www.eea.europa.eu/help/glossary/chm-biodiversity/ecological-or-ecosystem-resilience



  • Farm to Fork Strategy

    The Farm to Fork Strategy is the EU strategy that aims to accelerate our transition to a sustainable food system that should have a neutral or positive environmental impact, help to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts, reverse the loss of biodiversity, ensure food security, nutrition and public health, making sure that everyone has access to sufficient, safe, nutritious, sustainable food preserve affordability of food while generating fairer economic returns, fostering competitiveness of the EU supply sector and promoting fair trade.  Reference: https://food.ec.europa.eu/horizontal-topics/farm-fork-strategy_en


  • Green Deal

    The Green Deal is a package of measures introduced by the European Commission in 2019 to help the EU become climate neutral by 2050. It aims to transform the European economy to a sustainable and low carbon one, with a focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Green Deal covers various sectors including industry, agriculture, transport, and building. Reference: https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_en



  • Quality seeds

    Seeds that are varietally pure with a high germination percentage, free from pathogens, and with a proper moisture content and weight. Quality seed insures good germination, rapid emergence, and vigorous growth


  • Sustainable land management practices

    Sustainable land management (SLM) comprises measures and practices adapted to biophysical and socio-economic conditions aimed at the protection, conservation and sustainable use of resources (soil, water and biodiversity) and the restoration of degraded natural resources and their ecosystem functions. https://www.fao.org/land-water/land/sustainable-land-management/slm-practices/en/