The challenges of increasing food production are daunting. Despite great agricultural advances, millions go hungry or live under threat of famine. Furthermore the impact of pollution and the degradation of natural resources threaten to limit gains in production and imperil sustainable agriculture. However, achieving sustainable agriculture will not be easy. Most of the best agricultural land is already under cultivation and worldwide water availability is falling rapidly. Future increases in production depend mainly on increasing the productivity of existing agricultural land and water resources using innovative ideas. Farmer involvement is the key to sustainable agriculture.

However, farmers will adopt systems that maintain or enhance the natural resource base only if these also provide a living. Given the right incentives and government support, farm families can make significant progress towards managing their land and water sustainably. Therefore, policy, economic and social issues, as well as the productivity of the land and the broader health of the environment, have to be considered when working towards environmental sustainability of agricultural management systems. The 8th edition of the Agro Environ will address the importance of finding the right balance between competitive agricultural production and the sustainable use of our environment.

The International Symposium Agro Environ 2012 is expected to have a broad and scientifically interesting program on: ‘Environmental Sustainability of Agricultural Management Systems in an Ever Changing World”. This gathering will offer a platform where innovative ideas, knowledge, experience and concerns of all people, professionals and institutions involved within the field of innovative agricultural management options, models as tool to understand agro-environmental processes and to support policy development can be presented in a dynamic way.

Since 3rd world countries often fail to profit from modern advances in agricultural and environmental management, the Land Degradation and Development Group feels a commitment to share knowledge with young academics from developing countries. In a special session the role of academic training to the development of environmental sustainability of agricultural management systems in 3rd world countries is addressed. This session will be organised in honour of the retirement of prof. dr. ir. Leo Stroosnijder.

The opinions expressed and arguments employed in this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its Member countries.

The Conference was sponsored by the OECD Co-operative Research Programme on Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, whose financial support made it possible for most of the invited speakers to participate in the Conference/Workshop


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