Agroecosystem diversity: A model from the sonoran desert

Richard S. Felger, Gary P. Nabhan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Increases in human population are associated with general decreases in the number of subsistence species including loss of agricultural diversity. Large energy and fresh water inputs are needed to simulate tropical and temperate agroecosystems needed by industrial agriculture in dry lands. Pre-contact subsistence patterns in the Sonoran Desert region consisted of agriculture combined with gathering and hunting in the better watered areas and hunting and gathering without agriculture in the more arid areas. Projected future food, energy, and water shortages all indicate a re-evaluation of energy-intensive agriculture with high water requirements, particularly in dry lands. Millenia-old locally adapted germ plasm and techniques for sustained microenvironment exploitation have been lost during this century as a result of exotic agriculture. An unsuccessful attempt earlier in the century to introduce teparies into modern agriculture was poorly timed. Nevertheless, the tepary has considerable potential for low maintenance agriculture in dry lands and may become an important crop.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial and Technological Management in Dry Lands
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781000240177
ISBN (Print)9780367287795
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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