Assessing the Sustainability of Irish Agriculture
AbstractIndicators encompassing the multi-dimensional nature of sustainability (economic, environmental and social) are developed here using National Farm Survey data over a ten-year period (1996-2006) to assess the overall sustainability of Irish agriculture. This is the first such study undertaken for Ireland and the results show great change over the decade, in all three areas examined. The general concept of sustainability is discussed and the development of agricultural sustainability indicators in an Irish context described. The usefulness of composite indicators (particularly for this kind of research) is also evaluated. Individual indicators are dealt with in turn and the RERC SMILE model is used to demonstrate how these indicators can be mapped at electoral division level.1 Economic viability was found to be generally in decline over the ten-year period examined, however, when individual farming systems were taken into account, some were found to perform better than others. Unsurprisingly the more intensive farming systems (primarily dairy) were found to pollute more on average, and a case is then made for the potential trading of emissions permits across farms. Irish agriculture is experiencing a period of fundamental change, not least in terms of the ever-changing rural demographic; the challenge therefore lies in ensuring that farms remain economically, environmentally and socially sustainable in the long-term.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Rural Economy and Development Programme,Teagasc in its series Working Papers with number 0809.
Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
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