Dr Masatoshi Funabashi, researcher at Sony Computer Science Laboratories (Japon, Tokyo) will give an exceptional talk at ISC-PIF on Friday 14th of December to present his recent work published in Nature : “Human augmentation of ecosystems : objectives for food production and science by 2045”.
During this conference, the author will discuss the fundamental requirements for sustainable food production on the molecular, physiological and ecological scales.
Agriculture is one of the oldest foundations of all civilisations, yet an unresolved hard problem of sustainability. During the course of human history, agricultural production has always been practised on the trade-off between biodiversity and productivity, i.e. the intensification of the production has been associated with the reduction of genetic resources both in plants and animals. The severe loss of essential ecosystem services is threatening the survival of the present social regime and the global collapse of ecosystems is anticipated by 2045 where the global population will reach 9 billion.
Natural ecosystems, however, has exhibited dynamic adaptation to extraordinary natural phenomena over the course of evolution, which formed the biological diversity of the biosphere we observe today. The self-organisation of biodiversity that expresses various ecosystem functions and its own maintenance mechanisms has been traditionally a rich source of inspiration for ecologists and can be considered one of the primary conceptions of complex systems in the history of science.
How chaotic dynamics inherent in ecosystems lead to the stability and resilience of the whole? How heterogeneities and various trade-offs between species have emerged, been maintained, and evolved in the whirling tide of the earth’s environment? These questions have been initially addressed in the field of “synecology” at the beginning of the 20th century, and show today’s development with the name of community ecology.
Application of the complex systems paradigm in community ecology into agricultural production is one of the urgent tasks to achieve sustainable food production. With this perspective, synecological farming (Synecoculture in short) has been developed by integrating relevant domains including ecology, physiology, information science, complex systems science, food science, environmental science and agriculture, to create a low-input, highly diverse and productive method for smallholding farms that occupy 90% of the world arable land.
In this talk, I will present the theory and achievement of synecoculture based on the proof of concept experiments in Japan and in sub-Saharan Africa, along with the introduction of supportive ICT.
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In 2010 at Sony CSL, I started a synecoculture project. Synecoculture is a new field of open systems science which integrates domains including ecology, physiology, information science, complex systems science, food science, environmental science and agriculture, and I have undertaken a host of measures to scientifically formalize and verify it. My main initiative has been a pilot project for the proof of concept both in Japan and Sub-Saharan Africa. Since a prime cause of environmental destruction has been small-scale farmers trading away biodiversity for productivity, we have shown that synecoculture has the potential to fundamentally solve that issue. It potentially allows for biodiversity on a scale never before possible in the history of agriculture, while also allowing for food production that restores the healthy functioning of ecosystems and promote human well-being.
Based on my experience in the field, I am designing a “megadiversity management system” which will offer support to primary industries that impact our natural environment and also to the systems of our societies. It aims to support a new agricultural revolution, one that makes use of information and communications technology (ICT) coupled with the diversity of living nature and our society. Through it, we intend to solve global issues related to the food we produce, the environments we live in, and our own health.
Synecoculture / Open Complex Systems / Ecology / Agriculture / Hunting-gathering / Citizen Science / Ecosystems Management / Interface / Long-tail / Self-organization / Ecological Optimum / Emergence / Niche Formation / Symbiotic Earth / Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) / Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence / Augmented Reality / Megadiversity Management Systems (MMS)