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Measuring Educational Sustainability
Rani G Selvanathan
International Journal of Higher Education , 2012, DOI: 10.5430/ijhe.v2n1p35
Abstract: There are many definitions that are attributable to the meaning of sustainability. Sustainability can be viewed as long-lasting, effective result of a project, venture, action, or investment without consuming additional future resources. Because of the wide nature of its applicability, universal measure of sustainability is hard to come by. This paper proposes that in addition to the often explored four types of economic, financial, social, and environmental sustainability the need exists for a fifth aspect of sustainability viz. educational. The fifth aspect proposed in this paper is extremely important to educational institutions which form future workforce. The paper proposes a universal model to measure sustainability, continues with simulating sustainability as a function of several factors.
Role of Pigeonpea Cultivation on Soil Fertility and Farming System Sustainability in Ghana  [PDF]
S. Adjei-Nsiah
International Journal of Agronomy , 2012, DOI: 10.1155/2012/702506
Abstract: The productivity of the smallholder farming system in Ghana is under threat due to soil fertility decline. Mineral fertilizer is sparingly being used by smallholder farmers because of prohibitive cost. Grain legumes such as pigeonpea can play a complementary or alternative role as a source of organic fertilizer due to its ability to enhance soil fertility. Despite its importance, the potential of pigeonpea as a soil fertility improvement crop has not been exploited to any appreciable extent and the amount of land cultivated to pigeonpea in Ghana is vey negligible. This paper synthesizes recent studies that have been carried out on pigeonpea in Ghana and discusses the role of pigeonpea cultivation in soil fertility management and its implication for farming system sustainability. The paper shows that recent field studies conducted in both the semi-deciduous forest and the forest/savanna transitional agro-ecological zones of Ghana indicate that pigeonpea/maize rotations can increase maize yield by 75–200%. Barrier to widespread adoption of pigeonpea include land tenure, market, and accessibility to early maturing and high yielding varieties. The paper concludes among other things that in order to promote the cultivation of pigeonpea in Ghana, there is the need to introduce varieties that combine early maturity with high yields and other desirable traits based on farmers preferences. 1. Introduction Agricultural productivity in the smallholder farming systems in Ghana is under threat due to declining soil fertility. In the past, smallholder farmers in Ghana relied on the extended bush fallow system for maintaining the productivity of their farmlands [1]. This system allowed restoration of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N), the most limiting nutrients. However, over the years, the population growth-induced scarcity of suitable farmland has led to the shortening of the fallow period making it difficult to manage soil fertility in smallholder farming systems. The problem is compounded by the increasing cost of inputs at the farm level due to structural adjustment programmes that have removed subsidies and increased supply costs due to the deterioration conditions of rural infrastructure [2]. For instance, in 2002, whereas a metric tonne of urea cost about US$90 FOB (free on board) in Europe [3], the same quantity cost a Ghanaian farmer about US$308 at the farm level [4]. Most farmers, especially the smallholder farmers, do not have access to formal credit and therefore cannot afford to buy mineral fertilizers even when it has been demonstrated to be profitable
Factors Influencing Sustainable Agricultural Knowledge and Sustainability of Farming Systems: A Case Study in Fars Province  [cached]
Daryoosh Hayati,Ezzatollah Karami
Journal of Science and Technology of Agriculture and Natural Resources , 1999,
Abstract: Studies on sustainable agricultural have not paid adequate attention to farmers' behaviour regarding sustainability. The objectives of this research were: 1) to determine the relationship between socio-economic and farming factors with “sustainable agricultural knowledge”, 2) to predict “sustainable agricultural knowledge” based on socio-economic and farming factors, and 3) to determine the relationship between sustainable agricultural knowledge and sustainability of farming systems. A survey research was used with a multi-stage cluster sampling technique to collect data for the study. In the first stage, 39 villages were selected in Fars Province. Then 200 wheat producers were randomly selected in these villages for interview. The findings indicated that there was a significant and positive correlation between “sustainable agricultural knowledge” with level of literacy, achievement motivation, amount of total wheat production, technical knowledge about wheat production, economic condition, wheat farming model, amount of supervision by Agricultural Service Centers, and educational services provided by extension agents. Stepwise multiple regression indicated that technical knowledge about wheat production, achievement motivation, type of land revenue system, level of literacy and wheat farming model (independent variables) explained more than 50 percent of variability in “sustainable agricultural knowledge”. There was no significant correlation between “sustainable agricultural knowledge” and “sustainability of farming systems”. Possible reasons for this lack of relationship have been discussed. Based on the findings of this study, recommendations are provided towards achieving a more sustainable agricultural system.
Sustainability Assessment and Cropping Pattern Determination in Farming Systems Based on the Optimization of Soil and Water Resources Utilization Using Non-linear Mathematical Programming Models  [cached]
A. Amini Fasakhodi,S. H. Nouri
Journal of Science and Technology of Agriculture and Natural Resources , 2011,
Abstract: Studying the sustainability of farming systems entails the integrated assessment of the strong interdependence between their environmental, economic and social attributes. Optimum allocation of water resources in a farming system improves the conservation and sustainability status of resources in addition to reducing the socio-economical damages. In order to analyze and assess the different aspects of farm management and agricultural systems planning, a number of mathematical programming models have been developed in recent decades. The purpose of this article was to assess and analyse the sustanability and determine the appropriate pattern of cropping in a rural farming system, namely, south Baraan located in the east of Isfahan city. In order to incorporate environmental, economic and social dimentions, two criteria of maximum net return and employment creation per unit of agricultural water consumption were defined as system’s sustainability indicators. Thus, the ratios “net return / water consumption” and “employment / water consumption” were optimized by using single and multiple objective fractional programming models. The economic and social efficiency of each unit of agricultural water consumption was computed and compared in several single and multiple objective scenarios of linear and fractional programming models, and finally the most appropriate patterns of cropping for the region were determined based on the available land, water and human resources of the region.
The Social Dimensions of Sustainability and Change in Diversified Farming Systems  [cached]
Christopher M. Bacon,Christy Getz,Sibella Kraus,Maywa Montenegro
Ecology and Society , 2012, DOI: 10.5751/es-05226-170441
Abstract: Agricultural systems are embedded in wider social-ecological processes that must be considered in any complete discussion of sustainable agriculture. Just as climatic profiles will influence the future viability of crops, institutions, i.e., governance agreements, rural household and community norms, local associations, markets, and agricultural ministries, to name but a few, create the conditions that foster sustainable food systems. Because discussions of agricultural sustainability often overlook the full range of social dimensions, we propose a dual focus on a broad set of criteria, i.e., human health, labor, democratic participation, resiliency, biological and cultural diversity, equity, and ethics, to assess social outcomes, and on institutions that could support diversified farming systems (DFS). A comparative analysis of case studies from California's Central Valley, Mesoamerican coffee agroforestry systems, and European Union agricultural parks finds that DFS practices are unevenly adopted within and among these systems and interdependent with institutional environments that specifically promote diversified farming practices. Influential institutions in these cases include state policies, farmers' cooperatives/associations, and organized civic efforts to influence agroenvironmental policy, share knowledge, and shape markets for more 'sustainable' products. The Californian and Mesoamerican cases considers organic and fair trade certifications, finding that although they promote several DFS practices and generate social benefits, they are inadequate as a single strategy to promote agricultural sustainability. The complex governance and multifunctional management of Europe's peri-urban agricultural parks show unexpected potential for promoting DFS. Unless DFS are anchored in supportive institutions and evaluated against an inclusive set of social and environmental criteria, short-term investments to advance diversified agriculture could miss a valuable opportunity to connect ecological benefits with social benefits in the medium and long terms.
Sostenibilidad de sistemas agrícolas Sustainability of farming systems  [cached]
Leiva Fabio R.
Agronomía Colombiana , 1998,
Abstract: Las actividades agrícolas pueden tener impactos negativos sobre el ambiente, con efectos dentro y fuera de los predios. El presente artículo pretende contribuir al avance de la agricultura sostenible con énfasis en países en vías de desarrollo. Se revisan y analizan los conceptos de sostenibilidad y agricultura sostenible, incluyendo los diferentes puntos de vista en el debate sobre sostenibilidad'. El artículo examina los impactos ambientales debidos a las actividades agrícolas, destacando la importancia de fortalecer la investigación, con publicación de resultados, sobre la relación agricultura y medio ambiente. La complejidad de los factores que determinan la sostenibilidad agrícola exige una concepción de sistemas, integradora, participativa y holística. El uso de indicadores tiene un gran potencial en la evaluación de la sostenibilidad de sistemas productivos. La práctica de agricultura sostenible requiere tener en cuenta las condiciones ambientales, sociales y económicas en las cuales se desenvuelve la agricultura. Farming activities have the potential to affect the farming system itself and the offfarm environment. This paper attempts to contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture with emphasis in developing countries. The concepts of sustainability and sustainable agriculture are reviewed and discussed, including the different viewpoints in the sustainability debate. Environmental impacts due to farming activities are examined emphasising the need of promoting further research and publication of findings on the links between environment and agriculture. The complexity of the factors that determine farming sustainability requires a systematic, holistic, participative and integrated approach. Indicators are likely to contribute to the development of sustainable farming systems. Understanding environmental, social and economic circumstances is required to promote sustainability.
Chicken Farming in Grassland Increases Environmental Sustainability and Economic Efficiency  [PDF]
Meizhen Liu, Bingxue Wang, Colin P. Osborne, Gaoming Jiang
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053977
Abstract: Background Grassland degradation caused by overgrazing poses a threat to both animal husbandry and environmental sustainability in most semi-arid areas especially north China. Although the Chinese Government has made huge efforts to restore degraded grasslands, a considerable attempt has unfortunately failed due to an inadequate consideration of economic benefits to local communities. Methodology/Principal Findings A controlled field experiment was conducted to test our hypothesis that utilizing natural grasslands as both habitat and feed resources for chickens and replacing the traditional husbandry system with chicken farming would increase environmental sustainability and raise income. Aboveground plant biomass elevated from 25 g m?2 for grazing sheep to 84 g m?2 for chicken farming. In contrast to the fenced (unstocked) grassland, chicken farming did not significantly decrease aboveground plant biomass, but did increase the root biomass by 60% (p<0.01). Compared with traditional sheep grazing, chicken farming significantly improved soil surface water content (0–10 cm), from 5% to 15%. Chicken farming did not affect the soil bulk density, while the traditional sheep grazing increased the soil bulk density in the 0–10 cm soil layer by 35% of the control (p<0.05). Most importantly, the economic income of local herdsmen has been raised about six times compared with the traditional practice of raising sheep. Ecologically, such an innovative solution allowed large degraded grasslands to naturally regenerate. Grasslands also provided a high quality organic poultry product which could be marketed in big cities. Conclusion/Significance Chicken farming is an innovative alternative strategy for increasing environmental sustainability and economic income, rather than a challenge to the traditional nomadic pastoral system. Our approach might be technically applicable to other large degraded grasslands of the world, especially in China.
Soils of the Amazon: etnopedology and sustainable development. = Solos da Amaz nia: etnopedologia e desenvolvimento sustentável.
José Frutuoso do Vale Júnior,Maria Ivonilde Leit?o de Souza,Pedro Paulo Ramos Ribeiro do Nascimento,Diego Lima de Souza Cruz
[email protected] On-line , 2011,
Abstract: The diversity of the environments and soils within the Amazon should be considered in the process of use and occupation by the inhabitants, in order to maintain the sustainability of these ecosystems. The objective of this study was to characterize the Amazon region based on the pedology and ethnopedology, focusing on the issues of use, occupation and management, relating to sustainable development for the region. The discussion presents the following final remarks: the lowfertility of the soil and the diversity of soils leads to the use of inputs and extrapolations; the region lacks a network of roads and waterways to allow the flow of production; the scientific production of the region is below other regions of Brazil; and the occupation and use of land by Indian community have is still primitive. ResumoA diversidade de ambientes e solos na Amaz nia devem ser considerados no processo de uso e ocupa o pelos seus habitantes, de modo a manter a sustentabilidade desses ecossitemas. Objetivou-se com o presente trabalho caracterizar a Amaz nia Legal quanto à pedologia e a etnopedologia, enfocando as quest es de uso, ocupa o e manejo, relacionando com o desenvolvimento sustentável para a regi o. A discuss o apresenta as seguintes considera es finais: a baixa fertilidade natural dos solos e a diversidade de solos leva ao uso de insumos e a extrapola es; a regi o carece de uma malha viária ou hidroviária que permita o escoamento da produ o; a produ o científica da regi o é aquém das outras regi es; a ocupa o e uso da terra pelas comunidades indígenas é ainda primitivo.
Addressing Sustainability of Clam Farming in the Venice Lagoon  [cached]
Donata Melaku Canu,Pierpaolo Campostrini,Simona Dalla Riva,Roberto Pastres
Ecology and Society , 2011, DOI: 10.5751/es-04263-160326
Abstract: The clam fishing and aquaculture system in the Venice Lagoon still appears insufficiently resilient to buffer external and internal perturbations, such as productivity fluctuations, unregulated fishing, and market related dynamics, despite the efforts of regional and local authorities to achieve the sustainable development. According to the System Approach Framework (SAF), based on previous studies and stakeholder interactions, we developed a model integrating ecological, social, and economic (ESE) aspects. We chose the aspects necessary to represent the essential dynamics of major ecological, social, and economic clam farming system components to project the consequences of implementing alternative management policies and to address the ecological and social carrying capacity. Results of the simulations suggest that a properly managed farming system can sustain an acceptable income and support the local community, while reducing negative environmental impacts, social conflicts, and consumer health risks and improving system resilience. The results highlight the importance of an interdisciplinary, participatory, and adaptive approach in planning the management of this important renewable resource.
Refining Reproductive Parameters for Modelling Sustainability and Extinction in Hunted Primate Populations in the Amazon  [PDF]
Mark Bowler, Matt Anderson, Daniel Montes, Pedro Pérez, Pedro Mayor
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093625
Abstract: Primates are frequently hunted in Amazonia. Assessing the sustainability of hunting is essential to conservation planning. The most-used sustainability model, the ‘Production Model’, and more recent spatial models, rely on basic reproductive parameters for accuracy. These parameters are often crudely estimated. To date, parameters used for the Amazon’s most-hunted primate, the woolly monkey (Lagothrix spp.), come from captive populations in the 1960s, when captive births were rare. Furthermore, woolly monkeys have since been split into five species. We provide reproductive parameters calculated by examining the reproductive organs of female Poeppig’s woolly monkeys (Lagothrix poeppigii), collected by hunters as part of their normal subsistence activity. Production was 0.48–0.54 young per female per year, and an interbirth interval of 22.3 to 25.2 months, similar to parameters from captive populations. However, breeding was seasonal, which imposes limits on the maximum reproductive rate attainable. We recommend the use of spatial models over the Production Model, since they are less sensitive to error in estimated reproductive rates. Further refinements to reproductive parameters are needed for most primate taxa. Methods like ours verify the suitability of captive reproductive rates for sustainability analysis and population modelling for populations under differing conditions of hunting pressure and seasonality. Without such research, population modelling is based largely on guesswork.
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