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Assessing farm sustainability with the IDEA method - from the concept of agriculture sustainability to case studies on farms

Listed author(s):
  • Frédéric Zahm

    (Cemagref, UR ADBXF-33612, Cestas Cedex, France)

  • Philippe Viaux

    (Arvalis, Boigneville, France)

  • Lionel Vilain

    (France Nature Environnement, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturel, Paris Cedex, France)

  • Philippe Girardin

    (INRA, UMR Agronomie-Environnement, Colmar Cedex, France)

  • Christian Mouchet

    (ENSAR, Laboratoire de Développement Rural, Rennes Cedex, France)

Registered author(s):

    The IDEA method ( Indicateurs de Durabilité des Exploitations Agricoles or Farm Sustainability Indicators) is based on research work conducted since 1998 and is one way of giving practical expression to the concept of sustainable farms. Based on 41 sustainability indicators covering the three dimensions of sustainability, this method is designed as a self-assessment tool not only for farmers but also for policy makers to support sustainable agriculture. The scientific approach is based on identifying three different scales of sustainability. The application of the IDEA method is illustrated using French case studies. Linking the IDEA method with the Farm Accounting Data Network is noted as an interesting possibility to assess the sustainability level of different farming systems. The conclusion is that there is not just one farm sustainability model, and therefore the indicators must be adapted to local farming before using the IDEA method. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

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    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Sustainable Development.

    Volume (Year): 16 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 271-281

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:16:y:2008:i:4:p:271-281
    DOI: 10.1002/sd.380
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

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    1. Bockstaller, C. & Girardin, P., 2003. "How to validate environmental indicators," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 639-653, May.
    2. Hansen, J. W., 1996. "Is agricultural sustainability a useful concept?," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 117-143.
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