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Sustainability of Agricultural Systems: Concept to Application
Yuan, Y. AND M. Anderson. Sustainability of Agricultural Systems: Concept to Application. Presented at AMS ABE Annual Meeting, Kansas City, MO, July 21 - 24, 2013.
A case study evaluating the sustainability of agricultural systems in the Grand Lake St. Mary’s watershed.
Agriculture not only feeds the planet, it also is the biggest overall factor affecting the environment. Thus, innovative sustainable farming systems that produce healthy food and protect the environment at the same time are very much needed. We, as agricultural engineers, need to think long-term sustainability of agriculture farming systems. Sustainability is a widely used term, and covers a vast diversity of meanings, definitions and interpretations. It is a highly complex concept, with many views on what it should comprise and address. With many referring back to the UN Brundtland Commission report, sustainability is described as “meeting the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” When sustainability is applied to agriculture, it is often defined as “economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially equitable.” What do those terms precisely mean when they are applied to evaluate sustainability of farming systems? Various approaches have aimed to develop ways to collate and summarize aspects of sustainability, or to derive ‘‘Sustainability Indices”. In this study, we reviewed and summarized sustainability indices used for agricultural systems in published journal articles and reports. Then, using historical data sets from publicly available sources, we performed a case study of evaluating the sustainability of agricultural systems in the Grand Lake St. Mary’s watershed.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/SLIDE)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES DIVISION
LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY BRANCH