The notion of food security is a global phenomenon that impinges on every human. Efforts to increase productivity and yields have historically degraded the environment and reduced biodiversity and ecosystem services, with the significant impact on the poor. Sustainable agriculture—farming in sustainable ways based on an understanding of ecosystem services—is a practical option for achieving global food security while minimizing further environmental degradation. Sustainable agricultural systems offer ecosystem services, such as pollination, biological pest control, regulation of soil and water quality, maintenance of soil structure and fertility, carbon sequestration and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient cycling, hydrological services, and biodiversity conservation. In this review, we discuss the potential of sustainable agriculture for achieving global food security alongside healthy ecosystems that provide other valuable services to humankind. Too often, agricultural production systems are considered separate from other natural ecosystems, and insufficient attention has been paid to how services can flow to and from agricultural production systems to surrounding ecosystems. This review also details the trade-offs and synergies between ecosystem services, highlights current knowledge gaps, and proposes areas for future research.
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