1. As global climate changes and the world population increases, agriculture faces an enormous challenge to increase food production in an equitable and sustainable manner. Principles and concepts derived directly from plant ecological research can help meet this challenge.
2. This series of 10 mini-reviews considers some of the key ways that plant ecologists can help inform and contribute to meeting this challenge.
3. The papers are grouped into three main themes of plant ecology, namely plant community diversity and structure, plant population dynamics and plant interactions, and plant-soil (belowground) interactions.
4. Synthesis: We identify a number of important knowledge gaps in areas where plant ecological research can contribute towards improving yield, nutrition, ecosystem services, and environmental resilience of agricultural systems. However, the adoption of plant ecological principles in sustainable agriculture will require practical approaches to their implementation along with improved understanding of social and economic barriers.