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Table 1 Indicators for buffer capacity

From: Can monocultures be resilient? Assessment of buffer capacity in two agroindustrial cropping systems in Africa and South America

Indicators Description Rating criteria
Natural capital Access to land, security of tenure, and access to water [37] Farmers have sufficient land and feel secure, access to water using it
0 = inexistent, 1 = low, 2 = significant,
3 = high,
4 = desirable/ideal
Human capital Years of experience, percentage of employment from the local community (helping build skills), education and experience, skilled permanent employees [42] Average rating from: experience in the cropping system activity; education and skills
0 = inexistent, 1 = low, 2 = significant, 3 = high, 4 = desirable/ideal
Financial capital Cropping system activities provide livable incomes; situation of access to credit, savings, debts, and shareholding [29] Average rating from: the existence of on-farm and off-farm sources of income, levels of wages/incomes; food expenditures;
Other expenditures; savings; debts; loans; state support; other support
0 = inexistent, 1 = low, 2 = significant, 3 = high, 4 = desirable/ideal
Social capital Membership or participation in social networks [42] 0 = inexistent, 1 = low level of participation in networks and decision-making 2 = significant, 3 = high, 4 = desirable/ideal, production system actors feature similar bargaining power
Physical capital Presence and capacity of bulk storage facilities; access to machinery and tools necessary for the system to function; access to transport [43] Average rating from: the existence of housing and other installations; sanitary services; other services (water, electricity, gas, waste management; access to inputs, machinery and tools; access to transport) 0 = inexistent, 1 = low, 2 = significant, 3 = high, 4 = desirable/ideal
Diversity of Crops and breeds The diversity of crops and breeds on farms, and/or in markets, and/or consumed related to the respective food system as a proxy for the Diversity of system components [41]
Diversity of system components including seeds creates redundancy and Response diversity [34]
Average crop and breed species richness as a percentage of the maximum in the sample, transferred to a five-point Likert scale
0 = monocrop/ 4 = highest diversity found in the sample
Number of crops rotated with main crop Extent of crop rotation, referring to the number of crops rotated with the main crop [44] 0 = non-existent
1 = Single crop
2 = Two crops
3 = three crops
4 = Multiple crops
Landscape heterogeneity We use land cover classes in the cropping system to measure heterogeneity of the landscape. Land cover classes have been used to measure capacity of agroecosystem to provide ecosystem services [39, 45, 46] 0 = non existent
1 = 0–33% of the maximum number found
2 = 33–66% of the maximum
3 =  > 66% of the maximum
4 = Maximum of land cover classes found in the sample
Percentage of arable land under vegetation Here we look specifically on natural and planted vegetation in the cropped area. Natural vegetation has been found to be important in buffering the agroecosystem [34] 0 = 0%
1 =  < 33%
2 = 33–66%
3 =  > 66%
4 = 100%