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The Complex Pathway towards Farm-Level Sustainable Intensification: An Exploratory Network Analysis of Stakeholders’ Knowledge and Perception

1
Countryside and Community Research Institute, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham GL50 4AZ, UK
2
Environment, Soils and Land Use Department, Teagasc, Johnstown Castle, Y35 W821 Wexford, Ireland
3
Groundwater Protection and Restoration Group, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7HQ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2578; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072578
Received: 9 March 2020 / Revised: 19 March 2020 / Accepted: 20 March 2020 / Published: 25 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fostering Inclusivity in Rural Economic Development)
Farm-level sustainable intensification of agriculture (SIA) has become an important concept to ensuring food security while minimising negative externalities. However, progress towards its achievement is often constrained by the different perceptions and goals of various stakeholders that affect farm management decisions. This study examines farm-level SIA as a dynamic system with interactive components that are determined by the interests of the stakeholders involved. A systems thinking approach was used to identify and describe the pathways towards farm-level SIA across the three main pillars of sustainability. An explanatory network analysis of fuzzy cognitive maps (FCMs) that were collectively created by representative groups of farmers, farm advisors and policy makers was performed. The study shows that SIA is a complex dynamic system, affected by cognitive beliefs and particular knowledge within stakeholder groups. The study concludes that, although farm-level SIA is a complex process, common goals can be identified in collective decision making. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable intensification; stakeholder views; fuzzy cognitive mapping; mental models; network analysis sustainable intensification; stakeholder views; fuzzy cognitive mapping; mental models; network analysis
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Micha, E.; Fenton, O.; Daly, K.; Kakonyi, G.; Ezzati, G.; Moloney, T.; Thornton, S. The Complex Pathway towards Farm-Level Sustainable Intensification: An Exploratory Network Analysis of Stakeholders’ Knowledge and Perception. Sustainability 2020, 12, 2578.

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