Module 3: Agricultural Landscapes and Socioscapes

Farms and farmers exist within a series of “scapes,” the first having to do with the environment: farm landscapes, ecosystems, geography, microclimate; the second having to do with the moving food through the supply chain: resource conservation, crop planning, distribution, marketing, farm operation. The enviroscapes offer opportunities for farming and impose constraints on what is possible. The socioscapes offer methods to control farm operations and crop flows through the food supply chain. Feedbacks among these elements, as a consequence of environmental conditions and events and social enablers and obstacles. For example, too much rain at the beginning of the growing season may affect plant growth, lead to later harvests, and affect prices during periods of peak demand. That can also affect planning for the following year, as a result of too limited capital and planting too much in the hope that high demand and high prices will recur.

                         Subject area                                                       Learning Objectives for Trainers                        Activities for trainers                            Resources & References

Module 3: Farm landscapes and farming socioscapes.    
Situating a farm in the biophysical landscapeTrainer will be able to walk students through a farm and identify the elements of the farm landscape important to RA, including soil, water, wind, temperature, slope, etc. 

Ian Wilkinson, The farm as an ecosystem, Biodiversity 18, #2-3 (2017), 92-95,

L. Miklós et al., Landscape as a Geosystem, ch. 2, Springer, 2019,

Situating the farm in a local socioscapeTrainer will be able to describe the social processes that impinge on farm operation and management and their role in RA through specific examples and supply chains. 

Donald Field, et al., Reaffirming Social Landscape Analysis in Landscape Ecology: A Conceptual Framework, Society & Natural Resources, 16:4 (2003), 349-361,

Hannah Wittman, et al, “A social-ecological perspective on harmonizing food security and biodiversity conservation, Regional Environmental Change 17 (2017): 1291-1301, https://10.1007/s10113-016-1045-9.

Relating the two “scapes” as a single systemTrainer will be able to explain how the physical and social elements of the two scapes affect each other and constitute a whole.