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Issues in evaluating sustainability of farming systems with indicators

Abstract : The growing concern about side-effects of policies focusing on economic growth or even technological innovations, as well as agriculture intensification leads more and more stakeholders to pay attention to the questions of monitoring and evaluation of agricultural practices. This step of evaluation is now essential in policy decision, in research and design of innovative solutions, in NGOs' development projects, as well as in improvement process in ISO certification. The aim of this article is to review steps in the evaluation of sustainability in agriculture, starting in a first section with the necessity to develop a conceptual indicator framework to precise evaluators' own vision of sustainability. In a second section, we address the necessity to answer preliminary questions that will guide the selection of a set of indicators or an assessment method. In a third section, after discussing the way to categorize indicators, we provide an overview of available indicators for two sustainability themes of the environmental dimension regarding respectively nitrogen management and biodiversity. In a fourth section, we highlight the diversity of evaluation methods of sustainability through six examples in France. Finally we conclude the article with a general discussion on questions that remain to address.
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Christian Bockstaller, Pauline Feschet, Frédérique Angevin. Issues in evaluating sustainability of farming systems with indicators. Oléagineux, Corps Gras, Lipides, John Libbey Eurotext, 2015, 22 (1), pp.1-12. ⟨10.1051/ocl/2014052⟩. ⟨hal-01475931⟩

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