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Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3387-3403; doi:10.3390/su4123387
Article

The Sustainability of Agriculture in a Northern Industrialized Country—From Controlling Nature to Rural Development

1
, 2,*  and 3
1 Finnish Environment Institute, P.O. Box 140, Helsinki FIN-00251, Finland 2 University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, Joensuu FIN-80101, Finland 3 MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Jokioinen FIN-31600, Finland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 October 2012 / Revised: 8 December 2012 / Accepted: 14 December 2012 / Published: 18 December 2012
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Abstract

The concept of sustainability has been a part of theory and practice in agriculture for a long time, but the diverse roots of the concept have led to a number of different definitions of sustainable agriculture. This paper provides an overview of the policy development of sustainable agriculture in Finland by examining internal and external discourses of sustainability and the evolution in different dimensions of sustainability. We show that the debate on sustainability within European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy and Finnish agri-environmental policy are reflected in attempts to implement and monitor sustainability in agriculture in Finland. However, indicators suggest a largely non-sustainable condition. This has contributed to a shift in policy objectives from sustainable agriculture to sustainable rural development, especially in the EU context. As there are commonly trade-offs between the economic, ecological and social dimensions of sustainable development, future developments in sustainable agriculture will inevitably be characterized by continuous redefinitions of problems, paradigm revisions and reassessments of actions already taken.
Keywords: sustainable agriculture; rural development; agri-environmental policy; Finnish agriculture; EU agricultural policy sustainable agriculture; rural development; agri-environmental policy; Finnish agriculture; EU agricultural policy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hildén, M.; Jokinen, P.; Aakkula, J. The Sustainability of Agriculture in a Northern Industrialized Country—From Controlling Nature to Rural Development. Sustainability 2012, 4, 3387-3403.

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