Coupled Systems

Crop, livestock, and bioenergy enterprises can be more tightly coupled using wastes and byproducts from one enterprise as inputs for another. Science gaps in how to integrate these enterprises hinder the transition toward more resilient and productive food and energy systems, especially to build healthy soils, deliver clean water, and provide quality habitat for wildlife and other forms of biodiversity. C-CHANGE work in this area focuses on:

  • Identifying, learning from, and promoting innovative farms and businesses
  • Testing integrated crop, livestock, and energy systems
  • Quantifying the value of diversity and complexity
  • Removing barriers to integrating crop, livestock, and energy systems

The Coupled Systems’ effort is lead by Mark Mba Wright and Marshall McDaniel.


[PHOTO] Matt Liebman



“I see change toward farming systems that provide food security, decent livelihoods, and a healthy environment as not just an aspiration. It’s a necessity.”

— Matt Liebman, Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.

Success Story

There’s a lot to be gained from diversifying cropping practices. Across many different countries in many different climates and soils, with many different crops, the general pattern is that with diversification, you maintain or increase crop yields while gaining environmental benefits.

Image: Paula Westerman

Highlighted Publication

Agricultural diversification promotes multiple ecosystem services without compromising yield
Giovanni Tamburini, Riccardo Bommarco, Thomas Cherico Wanger, Claire Kremen, Marcel G. A. van der Heijden, Matt Liebman, and Sara Hallin

Science Advances 2020, 6, 45, eaba1715, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aba17153