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Productive Landscapes: a Global Perspective on Sustainable Agriculture

Productive Landscapes: a Global Perspective on Sustainable Agriculture AbstractThe connections between agriculture and landscape are well established in western perceptions. Agricultural landscapes in the Western world have, however, become increasingly industrialised and low in biodiversity, and the standard practice in developed countries is to grow large fields of single crops sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. Many leading agronomists believe that such industrial methods are the only way to a growing global population. However, many opposing agronomists argue that agroecology is a more productive and efficient use of land. This paper is a review of archaeological, environmental and ethnographic evidence for sustainable agricultural land management, as it has been practiced in the past, and as it is practiced today in countries that use traditional, pre-industrial methods. A range of evidence demonstrates that small, biodiverse farms are more productive per hectare than agribusinesses that practice monocropping. It is suggested that there can be compromise, and that substantial environment benefits accrue where agroecological methods are introduced into industrialised agricultural systems. A key point is that traditional varieties of crops are important adaptations to marginal environments; it is essential to food security that these resources, which were developed over thousands of years but which are now vanishing at an alarming rate, are not lost. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Landscapes Taylor & Francis

Productive Landscapes: a Global Perspective on Sustainable Agriculture

Landscapes , Volume 15 (1): 18 – Jun 1, 2014

Productive Landscapes: a Global Perspective on Sustainable Agriculture

Landscapes , Volume 15 (1): 18 – Jun 1, 2014

Abstract

AbstractThe connections between agriculture and landscape are well established in western perceptions. Agricultural landscapes in the Western world have, however, become increasingly industrialised and low in biodiversity, and the standard practice in developed countries is to grow large fields of single crops sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. Many leading agronomists believe that such industrial methods are the only way to a growing global population. However, many opposing agronomists argue that agroecology is a more productive and efficient use of land. This paper is a review of archaeological, environmental and ethnographic evidence for sustainable agricultural land management, as it has been practiced in the past, and as it is practiced today in countries that use traditional, pre-industrial methods. A range of evidence demonstrates that small, biodiverse farms are more productive per hectare than agribusinesses that practice monocropping. It is suggested that there can be compromise, and that substantial environment benefits accrue where agroecological methods are introduced into industrialised agricultural systems. A key point is that traditional varieties of crops are important adaptations to marginal environments; it is essential to food security that these resources, which were developed over thousands of years but which are now vanishing at an alarming rate, are not lost.

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References (72)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© Oxbow Books Ltd 2014
ISSN
2040-8153
eISSN
1466-2035
DOI
10.1179/1466203514Z.00000000024
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThe connections between agriculture and landscape are well established in western perceptions. Agricultural landscapes in the Western world have, however, become increasingly industrialised and low in biodiversity, and the standard practice in developed countries is to grow large fields of single crops sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. Many leading agronomists believe that such industrial methods are the only way to a growing global population. However, many opposing agronomists argue that agroecology is a more productive and efficient use of land. This paper is a review of archaeological, environmental and ethnographic evidence for sustainable agricultural land management, as it has been practiced in the past, and as it is practiced today in countries that use traditional, pre-industrial methods. A range of evidence demonstrates that small, biodiverse farms are more productive per hectare than agribusinesses that practice monocropping. It is suggested that there can be compromise, and that substantial environment benefits accrue where agroecological methods are introduced into industrialised agricultural systems. A key point is that traditional varieties of crops are important adaptations to marginal environments; it is essential to food security that these resources, which were developed over thousands of years but which are now vanishing at an alarming rate, are not lost.

Journal

LandscapesTaylor & Francis

Published: Jun 1, 2014

Keywords: Sustainable Agriculture; Traditional Agriculture; Biodiversity; Polycropping; Intercropping

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