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Coevolution, agricultural practices and sustainability: some major social and ecological issues


  • Clem Tisdell


This paper outlines the major social and ecological issues involved in the coevolution of social and ecological systems by initially reviewing relevant aspects of the recent literature relating to economic development and their implications for agricultural development. Coevolutionary qualitative-type models are presented. There has been a failure among advocates of structural adjustment policies (involving the extension of markets and economic globalisation) to take account of coevolutionary principles and to allow for historical differences in the evolution of communities and their varied circumstances. This lack of sensitivity has had unfortunate social and ecological consequences for some communities in, for example, the Russian Federation and for subsistence agriculturalists in some less developed countries. The evolution of globalised market systems involving industrial/commercial agriculture (largely dependent on inputs external to the farm) under the "patronage" of oligopolistic suppliers is seen to increasingly threaten the balance between social and ecological systems and as undermining the sustainability of both. Capitalistic processes of technological change, such as advances in biotechnology, play a major role in this evolution.

Suggested Citation

  • Clem Tisdell, 2000. "Coevolution, agricultural practices and sustainability: some major social and ecological issues," International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(1), pages 6-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijarge:v:1:y:2000:i:1:p:6-16

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Clem Tisdell, 1997. "Good Governance, Property Rights and Sustainable Resource Use," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 65(1), pages 15-23, March.
    2. Xue, Dayuan & Tisdell, Clement A., 1999. "Safety and Socio-Economic Issues Raised by Modern Biotechnology," Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers 47995, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tisdell, Clem, 2003. "Socioeconomic causes of loss of animal genetic diversity: analysis and assessment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 365-376, July.


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