Sustainability in Agricultural Development: trade-offs with productivity, stability, and equitability

Publication year: 
1991

This paper aims to estabish a working definition of sustainable agriculture. The paper advocates Agroecosystem Analysis, using the concepts of agroecosystems, agroecosystem hierarchies, agroecosystem properties and their trade-offs to stimulate interdisciplinary analysis. The paper argues that defining sustainability in terms of preservation or duration has little practical value. Long-term experiments to measure persistence are of research interest but take too long to constitute a practicable analytical method. By contrast, measuring the ability of an agroecosystem to withstand stress and shock is a subject for experiments using classical agricultural mothods. High sustainability is not the only desirable aspect of agricultural production and in many situations it may be necessary to trade a degree of sustainability for higher levels of productivity or equibility.

Interest groups: 
This paper may be of interest to government policy makers and planners in the South, NGO fieldworkers, agriculturalists and development researchers.
Pages: 
21p.
Publisher
Available for reference at IDS
Holdings: 
Lewes
Conference: 
11th Annual Agricultural Farming Systems Research and Extension Symposium
Conference Location: 
Michigan, USA

How to find this resource

Shelfmark in IDS Resource Centre
D : Agriculture and NRM : Farming systems and agroecosystems 24