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Agricultural Intensification and Ecosystem Properties

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Science  25 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5325, pp. 504-509
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5325.504

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Expansion and intensification of cultivation are among the predominant global changes of this century. Intensification of agriculture by use of high-yielding crop varieties, fertilization, irrigation, and pesticides has contributed substantially to the tremendous increases in food production over the past 50 years. Land conversion and intensification, however, also alter the biotic interactions and patterns of resource availability in ecosystems and can have serious local, regional, and global environmental consequences. The use of ecologically based management strategies can increase the sustainability of agricultural production while reducing off-site consequences.

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