At the CSP, research in agroecology is carried on different topics including the study of functional biodiversity in agroecosystems, plant populations and communities dynamics, insects and microorganisms and their interactions. The aim of the research activities is to understand and describe the complex mechanisms and interactions between different trophic levels in the agroecosystem that see plants (cultivated and spontaneous) as a fundamental crossroads – e.g. interactions between plants and soil microorganisms and between plants and entomofauna – and how the effects of these interactions on stability, resilience and provision of ecosystem services are modulated by the level of agrobiodiversity (genetics, of species and habitats) and from the management of the agroecosystem at different spatial scales (field, company, territory) and temporal (short, medium, long term). Such studies place particular emphasis on basic agroecological mechanisms that can improve the defense of crops from phytophagous and weeds. The researchers at CSP manage numerous long-term research experiments, either on their own or in collaboration with other institutions (e.g. the CIRAA of the University of Pisa) that represent valuable complementary sources of data to analyze and model the effects of the aforementioned interactions. The research activities range through different production systems (with herbaceous, arboreal, mixed crops, with or without animal husbandry) in regional, national, European and extra-European contexts (with particular reference to subsistence systems of sub-Saharan Africa).
The research activities on agroecology are developed with a strongly inter- and transdisciplinary approach, considered indispensable for the in-depth study of the dynamics of complex agroecosystems. In this regard, the CSP fosters numerous collaborations with qualified national and international research groups.