This paper addresses the relationship between agrobiodiversity conservation and sustainable agricultural intensification. A stylised theoretical model is used to explore the conditions by which both agrobiodiversity and conventional input intensification may increase through optimal adjustments of input use in biodiversity poor agroecosystems. The model shows that this result can arise in quite general circumstances where there is (1) an agricultural production technology that allows a positive relationship between ecological integrity of a given agricultural area and agricultural productivity in that area, and (2) decision maker preferences that recognise this positive relationship and generate resource allocation decisions that support it. While increase in agrobiodiversity conservation is a necessary condition for optimal resource adjustments, whether input use will increase or decrease along this optimal path depends on the buffering effect of agrobiodiversity on ecosystem damage and the relative societal welfare impacts of reduced agricultural output and ecosystem damage. A provocative hypothesis derived from the model points at the possibility that ecosystem damage (agrobiodiversity loss) can optimally decline even while agriculture is being intensified.


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