Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 320107
Title Evaluation of sustainability of organic, integrated and conventional farming systems: a farm and field-scale analysis
Author(s) Pacini, G.C.; Wossink, G.A.A.; Vazzana, C.; Huirne, R.B.M.
Source Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 95 (2003). - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 273 - 288.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/S0167-8809(02)00091-9
Department(s) Business Economics
MGS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2003
Keyword(s) european agriculture - indicators
Abstract Agricultural researchers widely recognise the importance of sustainable agricultural production systems and the need to develop appropriate methods to measure sustainability. The principal purpose of this paper is to evaluate the financial and environmental aspects of sustainability of organic, integrated and conventional farming systems (OFS, IFS and CFS, respectively) at farm level and on more detailed spatial scales. This was achieved by applying an integrated economic-environmental accounting framework to three case study farms in Tuscany (Italy) covering different farming systems (FSs) and different spatial scales. The environmental performances of the FSs were measured through the application of an environmental accounting information system (EAIS) at field, site and farm level. The EAIS indicators were then integrated with: (1) a set of financial indicators to evaluate the economic and environmental trade-offs between different FSs and (2) with information on the regional and site-specific soil and climate conditions to study the impact of different pedo-climates on the environmental performances of the FSs. The gross margins of steady-state OFSs were found to be higher than the corresponding CFS gross margins. The OFSs perform better than IFSs and CFSs with respect to nitrogen losses, pesticide risk, herbaceous plant biodiversity and most of the other environmental indicators. However, on hilly soils, erosion was found to be higher in OFSs than in CFSs. The pesticide and the nitrogen indicators in this study showed a similar environmental impact caused by integrated and conventional farming practices. Regional pedo-climatic factors were found to have a considerable impact on nutrient losses, soil erosion, pesticide risk and herbaceous plant biodiversity, site-specific: factors on nutrient losses and soil erosion. Results at field level suggest that herbaceous plant biodiversity and crop production are not always conflicting variables. Results of the case study farms are discussed and compared with environmental sustainability thresholds reported from EU Directives on nitrate and pesticides in groundwater and the literature. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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