Agricultural Sustainability : Principles, Processes, and Prospects book cover
1st Edition

Agricultural Sustainability
Principles, Processes, and Prospects

Edited By

Saroja Raman

ISBN 9781560223115
Published September 26, 2006 by CRC Press
496 Pages

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Book Description

Take a balanced look at ways to ensure food security and to work to erase hunger around the world

Agriculture is the most aggressively managed ecosystem. Agricultural Sustainability: Principles, Processes, and Prospects provides a comprehensive examination of all facets of agricultural sustainability, beginning with the history of the evolution of the concept to the present. Challenges to sustainability are clearly presented along with practical strategies to counter prospective problems. This vital resource considers options for the future, as well as reviewing past approaches for their value in today’s world.

When one considers that the alternative to agricultural sustainability is the collapse of the world’s food systems, it is understood that compromise is impossible. Agricultural Sustainability takes a holistic approach to the issues that are involved in making agriculture ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially responsible around the world. The book is divided into three parts. Part One clarifies the concept of agricultural sustainability, bringing a rational and balanced view of the core elements. Part Two discusses ways to promote sustainability in the world, including practical scientific and technological processes for improving yields while ensuring food security for future generations. Part Three peers into future decades, reviewing the vision documents of international agencies, their perceptions and expectations for the years ahead, and present dysfunctional aspects in the current food system. The book is extensively referenced and includes figures and charts to clearly explain data.

The book examines:

  • the historic evolution of the concept of agricultural sustainability
  • the combined effects of a multiplicity of agricultural systems
  • concepts for validating the sustainability of a production system
  • the role of natural capital in production
  • the role of science and technology in sustainable use
  • managing land, water, biodiversity, and energy
  • quantitative approaches to measuring agricultural sustainability
  • the current status of agriculture—and predictions for its growth in the coming decades
  • case studies of agricultural growth from India and China
  • problems—and possibilities—of creating a hunger-free world by the end of this century

Agricultural Sustainability is crucial, enlightening reading for field workers in NGOs and agricultural extensions; personnel in local, national, and international developmental organizations; and educators and students of sustainable agricultural production, food security, rural development, environmental science, and the conservation of natural resources.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword (M. S. Swaminathan)
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
  • Agricultural Sustainability Cannot Be Compromised
  • The Changing Face of Global Agriculture
  • Increasing Demands and Mounting Constraints
  • Holistic Approach to Sustainability
  • Organization of This Book
  • Chapter 2. Agricultural Sustainability: Principles and Paradoxes
  • Sustainable Development
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Sustainable Development As a Harbinger of Sustainable Agriculture
  • Elements of Sustainable Agriculture
  • Hierarchy of Agricultural Systems and Trade-Offs
  • Temporal Dimension of Agricultural Sustainability
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 3. Contextual Nature of Agricultural Sustainability
  • Diversity of Agricultural Systems
  • Determinants of Agriculture
  • General Profile of Current Agricultural Systems
  • Impact of Changes in the Determinants of Agriculture
  • Sustainability Conundrums
  • Sustainable Agriculture: An Evolving and Adaptive Process
  • Contextual Trade-Offs Among Elements of Agricultural Sustainability
  • Unified Principles, Different Approaches
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 4. Conceptual Framework for Sustainability of Agricultural Production Systems
  • General Framework for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Sustainable Agricultural Production on a Small Farm
  • Production Pattern Is Not Always Consistent with Opportunities
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 5. Resources and Their Importance for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Resources and Agricultural Sustainability
  • Natural Capital
  • Ecosystem Goods and Services
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Ecosystem Services
  • Physical Capital
  • Human Capital
  • Social Capital
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 6. Conservation of Natural Resources and Sustainable Agriculture
  • Core Guiding Principles for Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Energy and Sustainable Agriculture
  • Monitoring and Evaluation of Sustainability
  • Socioeconomic Parameters and Sustainability
  • Pathway to Sustainable Agriculture
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 7. Land Management for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Land and Crop Production
  • Soil Degradation and Its Impact on Agriculture
  • Sustaining Land Productivity
  • Framework for Land Management for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Soil Management and Sustainable Agriculture
  • Core Sustainable Soil Management Strategies
  • Efficient Use of Inputs and Sustainable Agriculture
  • Stressed Ecosystems and Context-Based Technologies
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 8. Soil Quality and Sustainable Agriculture
  • What Is Soil Quality?
  • Components of Soil Quality
  • Measuring Soil Quality in Agriculture
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 9. Water Management for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Freshwater Supply and Demand
  • Water for Agriculture
  • Future Constraints for Irrigated Agriculture
  • Water Shortage and Food Security Concerns
  • Conservation and Sustainable Use of Water in Agriculture
  • Improving Water Productivity in Agriculture
  • Equitable Distribution and Sharing of Water
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 10. Biodiversity and Sustainable Agriculture
  • Biodiversity and Its Importance
  • Agroecosystems and Agricultural Biodiversity
  • Agricultural Intensification and Biodiversity
  • Impact of Biodiversity Reduction on Modern Agricultural Systems
  • Adverse Impact of Genetic Erosion of Food Crops
  • Conservation and Sustainable Use of Agricultural Biodiversity
  • Global Plan of Action for Conserving Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
  • Practical Measures for Conserving Plant Genetic Resources
  • Conservation of Nonfood Components of Agricultural Biodiversity
  • Equitable Sharing of Benefits from Biodiversity Utilization
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 11. Energy Management for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Energy and Agriculture
  • Energy Intensification in Agriculture
  • Impact of Low Energy Use in Agriculture
  • Energy and Agricultural Sustainability
  • Food-Energy Nexus and Integration
  • Biomass Energy and Rural Livelihoods
  • Other Renewable Sources of Energy
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 12. Measurement of Agricultural Sustainability
  • Dimensions of Agricultural Sustainability
  • Partial Indices of Agricultural Sustainability
  • Soil Quality As an Indicator of Sustainability
  • Framework for the Evaluation of Sustainable Land Management
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 13. Challenges to Global Agricultural Sustainability
  • Current Strengths and Concerns
  • Prognosis for the Future
  • Proposed Models and Pathways for Sustainability
  • Future Challenges for Agricultural Sustainability
  • Physical Constraints
  • Socioeconomic Constraints
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 14. Achieving Agricultural Sustainability in the Future
  • Focus on Differential Capabilities of Resources
  • Sustainable Intensification of High-Potential Lands
  • Holistic Technologies
  • Frontier Technologies for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Sustainable Intensification of Low-Potential Areas
  • Ensuring Food Security for All
  • Ameliorating the Gender Issue in Sustainable Agriculture
  • Coping with Climate Change
  • Agriculture and Trade Liberalization
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 15. Sustainable Livelihoods and Rural Development
  • Sustainable Agriculture As a Rural Development Paradigm
  • Natural Resources for Food Security and Sustainable Livelihoods
  • Technology and Sustainable Livelihoods
  • Case Studies in Livelihood Creation for Rural Development
  • Facilitation of Livelihood Opportunities
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 16. Summary and Conclusions
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Development
  • Transition to Agricultural Sustainability
  • Agricultural Sustainability in the Future
  • Ethics and Sustainable Food Security
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Reference Notes Included

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