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Sustainability 2015, 7(6), 7833-7865; doi:10.3390/su7067833

What Is Sustainable Agriculture? A Systematic Review

Institute for Sustainability Communication, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Scharnhorststr. 1, Lüneburg 21335, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 5 March 2015 / Revised: 15 May 2015 / Accepted: 10 June 2015 / Published: 18 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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The idea of a sustainable agriculture has gained prominence since the publication of the Brundtland Report in 1987. Yet, the concept of sustainable agriculture is very vague and ambiguous in its meaning, which renders its use and implementation extremely difficult. In this systematic review paper, we aim to advance understandings of sustainable agriculture from a social science and governance perspective by identifying areas of complementarity and concern between emerging definitions of sustainable agriculture. For this purpose, we conducted a structured literature review in combination with a cluster analysis in order to (1) identify the overall ideas and aspects associated with sustainable agriculture; (2) detect patterns and differences in how these ideas and aspects are adopted or applied; (3) evaluate how the different ideas and aspects of sustainable agriculture are combined in the scientific debate, and assess whether these different conceptions match with those that have been claimed to exist in the debate. There are two valuable outcomes from this research. The first is a framework for understanding the components of sustainable agriculture. The second outcome is in highlighting ways for actors involved with sustainable agriculture to deal with the complexity and multiplicity of this concept in a constructive manner. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable agriculture; definitions; qualitative content analysis; cluster analysis; journal articles; grey literature; goals; strategies; fields of action sustainable agriculture; definitions; qualitative content analysis; cluster analysis; journal articles; grey literature; goals; strategies; fields of action

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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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Velten, S.; Leventon, J.; Jager, N.; Newig, J. What Is Sustainable Agriculture? A Systematic Review. Sustainability 2015, 7, 7833-7865.

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