Sustainable Agriculture: An Update
AbstractProvides some background on concerns about the sustainability of agriculture, outlines and discusses views about what constitutes sustainable agriculture and contrasts the sustainability of modern industrialised agriculture with that of traditional agriculture. Then the question is considered (taking into account the available evidence) whether organic agriculture is more sustainable than non-organic agriculture. Barriers to switching from non-organic to organic agriculture are mentioned. The development of agriculture usually has a serious negative impact on wild biodiversity. Whether or not more intensive agriculture would reduce the negative ecological footprint is unclear but many scientists believe it will do this. Globally, there has been a rapid expansion in the area planted with GM crops. Reasons are given why yields and returns from these crops may not be sustained, and why they may result in genetic losses liable to jeopardise sustainable development. Nevertheless, agriculturalists may still have an incentive to adopt unsustainable agroecosystems for reasons outlined. While genetic losses may be a threat to the long-term sustainability of agriculture, increasing scarcity of natural resources used in agriculture, such as water, and climate change may be more immediate challenges to the sustainability of agricultural production.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Queensland, School of Economics in its series Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers with number 140549.
Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
biodiversity loss; genetically modified crops; industrialised modern agriculture; organic agriculture; sustainable agriculture; sustainable development; Agricultural and Food Policy; Crop Production/Industries; Environmental Economics and Policy; Q01; Q16; Q57;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
- Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
- Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGR-2013-01-07 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2013-01-07 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENV-2013-01-07 (Environmental Economics)
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