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Technology, preferences and the sustainable intensification of agricultural production

Author

Listed:
  • Russell, Noel P.
  • Omer, Amani A.
  • Pascual, Unai

Abstract

This paper addresses the relationship between agrobiodiversity conservation and sustainable agricultural intensification. A stylised theoretical model is used to explore the conditions by which both agrobiodiversity and conventional input intensification may increase through optimal adjustments of input use in biodiversity poor agroecosystems. The model shows that this result can arise in quite general circumstances where there is (1) an agricultural production technology that allows a positive relationship between ecological integrity of a given agricultural area and agricultural productivity in that area, and (2) decision maker preferences that recognise this positive relationship and generate resource allocation decisions that support it. While increase in agrobiodiversity conservation is a necessary condition for optimal resource adjustments, whether input use will increase or decrease along this optimal path depends on the buffering effect of agrobiodiversity on ecosystem damage and the relative societal welfare impacts of reduced agricultural output and ecosystem damage. A provocative hypothesis derived from the model points at the possibility that ecosystem damage (agrobiodiversity loss) can optimally decline even while agriculture is being intensified.

Suggested Citation

  • Russell, Noel P. & Omer, Amani A. & Pascual, Unai, 2009. "Technology, preferences and the sustainable intensification of agricultural production," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51743, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae09:51743
    as

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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/51743/files/IAAE%20Sust%20Intens_300609.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Salvatore Di Falco & Jean-Paul Chavas, 2008. "Rainfall Shocks, Resilience, and the Effects of Crop Biodiversity on Agroecosystem Productivity," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 84(1), pages 83-96.
    2. Melinda Smale & Jason Hartell & Paul W. Heisey & Ben Senauer, 1998. "The Contribution of Genetic Resources and Diversity to Wheat Production in the Punjab of Pakistan," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(3), pages 482-493.
    3. Quaas, Martin F. & Baumgärtner, Stefan, 2008. "Natural vs. financial insurance in the management of public-good ecosystems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 397-406, April.
    4. Salvatore Di Falco & Charles Perrings, 2003. "Crop Genetic Diversity, Productivity and Stability of Agroecosystems. A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(2), pages 207-216, May.
    5. Salvatore Di Falco & Jean-Paul Chavas & Melinda Smale, 2007. "Farmer management of production risk on degraded lands: the role of wheat variety diversity in the Tigray region, Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 36(2), pages 147-156, March.
    6. Amani Omer & Unai Pascual & Noel P. Russell, 2007. "Biodiversity Conservation and Productivity in Intensive Agricultural Systems," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 308-329, June.
    7. Zhang, Wei & Ricketts, Taylor H. & Kremen, Claire & Carney, Karen & Swinton, Scott M., 2007. "Ecosystem services and dis-services to agriculture," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 253-260, December.
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