Agroecological Science

A team of UCSC staff and student researchers at the CASFS/UCSC Farm working on a study of alternatives to methyl bromide for strawberry disease control.

The Center supports research on the basic ecology of agricultural systems with the goal of designing farming methods that conserve resources, maintain yields, and protect the health of surrounding natural landscapes. This agroecosystem approach, based on ecological principles such as nutrient cycling, biodiversity, and predator-prey relationships, is critical to developing an agriculture that can be maintained into the future. 

Researchers working with the Center also experiment with growing practices to improve yields, optimize nutrient use, decrease off-farm impacts, and reduce or eliminate reliance on synthetic chemical inputs. Much of this work takes place directly with growers on their farms and on the Center’s 30-acre organic farm at UCSC.

Areas of interest include:

  • Control of strawberry pests and diseases with anaerobic soild disinfestation (ASD) and trap crops.
  • Crop rotations to suppress pests and diseases and improve fertility.
  • Pest and natural enemy population dynamics.
  • Variety trials for organic specialty crop production on the Central Coast.
  • Cover cropping with annuals and perennials.
  • Analysis of nutrient uptake in organic and conventional systems.
  • Farmscaping with native hedgerows and vegetative buffer strips.

Center researchers also experiment with growing practices to improve yields, optimize nutrient use, decrease off-farm impacts, and reduce or eliminate reliance on synthetic chemical inputs. Much of this work takes place directly with growers on their farms and on the Center’s 30-acre organic farm at UCSC.

For information on conducting research at the CASFS/UCSC Farm, contact Farm Site and Research Lands Manager Darryl Wong at 831.459-3604 or by email. Please see the CASFS Research Protocol and Cost Worksheet for more detailed information.