Diversified Agroecosystem Research Cluster

Agroecosystem Research Cluster

Introducing the DARC

The Diversified Agroecosystem Research Cluster aims to leverage the research excellence represented by CSFS members and partners. Using ecological and systems analysis perspectives for integrated research on bioenergy, water resources, and food production, members will work to maximize crop yields, improve soil quality, improve and maintain biodiversity and minimize nutrient losses to the environment. The aim of developing the network is to bring together diversified agroecosystem researchers worldwide to create a novel, next-generation, grassroots generated and open-data food systems approach to assessing linked social and ecological outcomes of diversified agricultural systems.

    Did you know? Food production currently consumes 92 per cent of the water footprint of humanity, 30 per cent of global net primary productivity, and produces a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The main goals of the cluster are to:

The principle objective of the cluster is to develop a Coordinated Distributed Experimental Network (CDEN) to build a global dataset on diversified farming practices and ecosystem services. The UBC Farm will be a central hub in a Coordinated Distributed Experimental Network (CDEN) of diversified research farms. The cluster will develop and implement long-term experimental protocols to examine the trade-offs and synergies in diversified agroecosystems, using the UBC Farm as a living laboratory, alongside 7-10 other leading research universities in Canada, USA, and Latin America.

The cluster aims to advance an open-source prototype farm management software to aid in the integrated assessment of farming systems outcomes on organic, integrated, smallholder and diversified farming systems. Over the past year, a prototype for a farm management software application at the UBC Farm has been developed. The long-term plan is to work with Cluster members, and their networks, to build a digital experimental monitoring network that can be used to inform data-driven agroecology.


The Cluster will be hosting its first CDEN Research Design Workshop at UBC Farm, with 10 international guests and 30 guests overall.

Research Cluster Network on Diversified Agroecosystems: 3-day CDEN Research Design Workshop at UBC Farm from 12-14th of June 2018.

The goal of the workshop is to establish the CDEN experimental design and will include identifying research synergies, evaluating joint funding opportunities and development of a collaborative synthesis paper. The workshop will enable discussions on replicated experiments on crucial areas such as nutrient management, biodiversity and food security. The workshop will therefore lay the foundation for an experimental network of diversified farming systems research.