Multi-Functional Farming Systems and Soil Health

Our lab seeks to assess the multifunctionality of soils and agroecosystems. Essentially, we to evaluate the performance of farming systems by examining yields and profitability together with an array of ecosystem services such as erosion control, nutrient cycling and provision, carbon sequestration, pest regulation, water capture and storage, among others. By understanding how farm management (e.g., tillage, rotations, grazing intensity, irrigation) influences tradeoffs among various ecosystem services we hope to inform the development of farming systems that support the livelihoods of producers and rural communities, while also meeting the diverse needs of multiple stakeholders and society.

Relevant Publications

Visscher, A., S.J. Vanek, K. Meza, C. Wellstein, S. Zerbe, R. Ccanto, E. Olivera, M. Scurrah, and S.J. Fonte (2022) Tree-based land uses enhance the provision of ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes of the Peruvian highlands. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 342: 108213.

Galindo, V., C. Giraldo, P. Lavelle, I. Armbrecht, and S.J. Fonte (2022) Land use conversion to agriculture impacts biodiversity, erosion control and key soil properties in an Andean watershed. Ecosphere 13: e3979.

Eash, L., A. Berrada, K. Russell, and S.J. Fonte (2021) Cover crop impacts on water dynamics and yields in dryland wheat systems on the Colorado Plateau. Agronomy 11: 1102

Nyamsoka-Magonziwa, B, S.J. Vanek, J.O. Ojiem, and S.J. Fonte (2020) A soil tool kit to evaluate soil properties and monitor soil health changes in smallholder farming contexts. Geoderma 376: 114539.

Deleon, E., T. Bauder, E. Wardle, and S.J. Fonte (2020) Conservation tillage supports soil macrofauna communities, infiltration, and farm profits in an irrigated maize-based cropping system of Colorado. Soil Science Society of America Journal 84: 1943–1956.

Caulfield, M., S.J. Fonte, J. Groot, S. Vanek, S. Sherwood; P. Oyarzun, R. Borja, S. Dumble, and P. Tittonell (2020) Agroecosystem patterns and land management co-develop through environment, management and land-use interactions. Ecosphere 11: 103561.

Kearney, S.P., S.J. Fonte, E. García, K.M. Chan, P. Siles, and S.M. Smukler (2019) Evaluating ecosystem service trade-offs and synergies from slash-and-mulch agroforestry systems in El Salvador. Ecological Indicators 105: 264-278.

Webster, E., A.C.M. Gaudin, M. Pulleman, P. Siles, and S.J. Fonte (2019) Improved pastures support early indicators of soil restoration in low-input agroecosystems of Nicaragua. Environmental Management 64: 201-212