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Special issue: Biomimicry and nature-based solutions

Outlook on Agriculture cover

This special issue of the journal Outlook on Agriculture, edited by James Sumberg and Ken Giller, focuses on biomimicry and ‘nature-based solutions’ in relation to food production. The introductory paper contrasts a technological approach to solving food system problems with the “(re)turn to nature” style of thinking seen in (for example) agroecology and regenerative farming. The rest of the special issue covers a range of topics including perennial grain crops and their downsides, the philosophical and conceptual underpinnings of nature-based agricultural practices, soil organic carbon, and the “epic narratives” that have been built around natural agriculture.

The special issue contains the following articles:


Abstract of the introductory paper

This paper introduces the Outlook on Agriculture Special Issue on biomimicry and nature-based solutions. It provides a selective overview that will help frame and situate the collection, with a particular focus on agriculture and food production. The relationship between agriculture and nature is a central concern, and particularly how this relationship is framed by those promoting the idea that to overcome the multiple challenges it faces, agriculture must (re)turn to nature. The significance of different understandings of ‘nature-based solutions’, and the relative importance of biomimicry, are explored.


Reference of the introductory paper

Sumberg, J., 2022. Future agricultures: The promise and pitfalls of a (re) turn to nature. Outlook on Agriculture, 51(1), pp.3-10.

Read the full special issue here. See also the TABLE explainer What is agroecology?

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