Assessing the Sustainability of Irish Agriculture
Indicators 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.
|Date of creation:||2008|
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- Bohringer, Christoph & Jochem, Patrick E.P., 2007. "Measuring the immeasurable -- A survey of sustainability indices," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-8, June.
- Michela Nardo & Michaela Saisana & Andrea Saltelli & Stefano Tarantola & Anders Hoffman & Enrico Giovannini, 2005. "Handbook on Constructing Composite Indicators: Methodology and User Guide," OECD Statistics Working Papers 2005/3, OECD Publishing.
- Alan Matthews & Jean-Christophe Bureau, 2005. "EU Agricultural Policy: What Developing Countries Need to Know," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp91, IIIS.
- Gomez-Limon, Jose Antonio & Riesgo, Laura, 2008. "Alternative Approaches On Constructing A Composite Indicator To Measure Agricultural Sustainability," 107th Seminar, January 30-February 1, 2008, Sevilla, Spain 6489, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
- Michael Freudenberg, 2003. "Composite Indicators of Country Performance: A Critical Assessment," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2003/16, OECD Publishing.
- Pannell, David J. & Glenn, Nicole A., 2000. "A framework for the economic evaluation and selection of sustainability indicators in agriculture," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 135-149, April.
- Zhou, P. & Ang, B.W. & Poh, K.L., 2006. "Comparing aggregating methods for constructing the composite environmental index: An objective measure," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 305-311, September.
- Andrew Sharpe, 2004. "Literature Review of Frameworks for Macro-indicators," CSLS Research Reports 2004-03, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
- van Calker, K.J. & Berentsen, P.B.M. & Romero, C. & Giesen, G.W.J. & Huirne, R.B.M., 2006. "Development and application of a multi-attribute sustainability function for Dutch dairy farming systems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(4), pages 640-658, June.
- Rigby, Dan & Woodhouse, Phil & Young, Trevor & Burton, Michael, 2001. "Constructing a farm level indicator of sustainable agricultural practice," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 463-478, December.
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