Special Issue "Sustainable Agricultural Diversity"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Clement Tisdell
Website
Guest Editor
School of Economics, The University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072, Australia
Interests: agricultural economics; economic development and growth; economic theory; environment and resource economics; industry economics and industrial organization; microeconomic theory; wildlife conservation
Dr. Mohammad Alauddin
Website
Guest Editor
School of Economics, The University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072, Australia
Interests: agricultural economics; applied economics; economic development and growth; environment and resource economics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Contributions that deal with any relevant aspect of sustainable agricultural diversity are welcome. These can take into account its ecological (environmental), economic, or social dimensions, or sustainable development generally. The sustainability of different forms of agricultural systems and their diversity can be examined, e.g., agroforestry, mixed cropping, integrated livestock, and cropping systems. Studies may discuss agricultural diversity at different scales (geographical levels), e.g., in the field, or the farm, locally, nationally, or globally. Crop rotations and time-related diversity can also be considered. Articles are welcome that pay attention to historical changes (trends) in agricultural diversity; the reasons for these (e.g., technical change, the extension of market systems); and their sustainability consequences, including their effects on biodiversity conservation. Climate change and its impact on agricultural diversity at micro and macro levels, adaptation, and mitigation is an important area of interest. Interdependence between climate change and alterations in agricultural diversity is another topic of interest. Public policies that promote or retard the sustainability of agricultural diversity are relevant, as are the implications of R&D programs for agricultural diversity. Because agricultural and non-agricultural systems are interdependent, this can be taken into account. The range of suitable contributions is wide. Contributions can be based, among other things, on case studies, experiments, and other forms of empirical evidence, or involve the application of theoretical concepts.

Prof. Dr. Clement Tisdell
Dr. Mohammad Alauddin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Agricultural diversification;
  • Economics of agricultural diversity;
  • Agricultural intensification;
  • Agricultural biodiversity;
  • Agricultural diversity and ecological sustainability;
  • Agricultural diversity and economic sustainability;
  • Agricultural diversity and social sustainability;
  • Agricultural diversity and sustainable development;
  • Trends in agricultural diversity;
  • Climate change and the sustainability of agricultural diversity;
  • Climate change, adaptation, and mitigation and agricultural diversity;
  • Public policies and the sustainability of agricultural diversity;
  • R&D programs and the sustainability of agricultural diversity;
  • New technologies and the sustainability of agricultural diversity;
  • Markets and the preservation of agricultural diversity

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Local Notions of Alternative Practices: Organic Food Movements in Bangkok, Thailand and Chennai, India
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1952; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051952 - 04 Mar 2020
Abstract
I argue that the common discourses on alternative practices often entail a Western perspective and are sometimes treated as new paths of thinking. This also applies to alternative food practices such as organic farming. Based on empirical research on organic food movements in [...] Read more.
I argue that the common discourses on alternative practices often entail a Western perspective and are sometimes treated as new paths of thinking. This also applies to alternative food practices such as organic farming. Based on empirical research on organic food movements in Bangkok and Chennai, I suggest two examples of alternative practices that have become naturally incorporated in daily routines. Through qualitative expert interviews, long-term observation, and action research, the study reveals that in these movements, urbanites advocate for the right to healthy foods and solidarity with rural farmers, and that farmers employ local sustainable farming methods, including careful resource management and agricultural diversity. Stakeholder engagement is long-term and embraces a spiritual-cultural tone of alternativeness. Based on my findings from my case studies, I propose the following two recommendations. First, the alternative practice discourse needs to open up to the existing plurality of perspectives—openness may prevent the alternative practice discourse from overlooking notable sources of inspiration from societies that inherently perform a diversity of sustainable agricultural practices. Second, continuity, local sustainability notions, and mindfulness need to be included as criteria in the debate. The incorporation of these three themes represented by my two case studies may enrich the discourse through a more local, Global South perspective on alternativeness, and advance its conceptualization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural Diversity)
Open AccessArticle
Peer-Reviewed Literature on Grain Legume Species in the WoS (1980–2018): A Comparative Analysis of Soybean and Pulses
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6833; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236833 - 02 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Grain-legume crops are important for ensuring the sustainability of agrofood systems. Among them, pulse production is subject to strong lock-in compared to soya, the leading worldwide crop. To unlock the situation and foster more grain-legume crop diversity, scientific research is essential for providing [...] Read more.
Grain-legume crops are important for ensuring the sustainability of agrofood systems. Among them, pulse production is subject to strong lock-in compared to soya, the leading worldwide crop. To unlock the situation and foster more grain-legume crop diversity, scientific research is essential for providing new knowledge that may lead to new development. Our study aimed to evaluate whether research activity on grain-legumes is also locked in favor of soya. Considering more than 80 names grouped into 19 main grain-legume species, we built a dataset of 107,823 scholarly publications (articles, book, and book chapters) between 1980 and 2018 retrieved from the Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics) reflecting the research activity on grain-legumes. We delineated 10 scientific themes of interest running the gamut of agrofood research (e.g., genetics, agronomy, and nutrition). We indexed grain-legume species, calculated the percentage of records for each one, and conducted several analyses longitudinally and by country. Globally, we found an unbalanced research output: soya remains the main crop studied, even in the promising field of food sciences advanced by FAO as the “future of pulses”. Our results raise questions about how to align research priorities with societal demand for more crop diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural Diversity)
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Open AccessArticle
Agricultural Diversity and Sustainability: General Features and Bangladeshi Illustrations
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6004; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216004 - 29 Oct 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Many scientists have expressed concern that declining agricultural diversity threatens agricultural sustainability. We draw on the available literature to outline and examine mechanisms that reduce agricultural diversity and identify the at-risk attributes of agricultural sustainability. Using a three-pillar concept embodying ecological, social and [...] Read more.
Many scientists have expressed concern that declining agricultural diversity threatens agricultural sustainability. We draw on the available literature to outline and examine mechanisms that reduce agricultural diversity and identify the at-risk attributes of agricultural sustainability. Using a three-pillar concept embodying ecological, social and economic dimensions, this article provides a comprehensive general assessment of the sustainability of agricultural systems. It pays particular attention to consequences for agricultural diversity and sustainability of the increasing dependence of agriculture on the market system and new agricultural technologies. As an illustrative example, it examines changes in the diversity and sustainability of Bangladeshi agriculture by applying a novel index of the diversity of cropping land use, an output decomposition method, and statistical techniques. Crop diversity in Bangladesh is very low and dominated by the cultivation of rice, which now depends very heavily on a limited number of high yielding varieties (HYVs). Higher rice yields in Bangladesh and seasonal changes in rice cultivation have resulted in land sparing, which make room for greater crop diversity. Nevertheless, Bangladesh’s food dependence on its rice output is very high and is critically dependent on groundwater irrigation. We recommend that Bangladesh consider increasing the diversity of its crops as a food security measure and as a hedge against a decline in its agricultural sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural Diversity)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability of Agricultural Diversity in the Farm Households of Southern Tibet
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5756; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205756 - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
Farming systems in Tibet are undergoing significant change as farm households are encouraged to shift from more subsistence-oriented staple cereals to more intensive, diverse, and integrated forage crop livestock systems reliant on engagement with external input and product markets. This is occurring at [...] Read more.
Farming systems in Tibet are undergoing significant change as farm households are encouraged to shift from more subsistence-oriented staple cereals to more intensive, diverse, and integrated forage crop livestock systems reliant on engagement with external input and product markets. This is occurring at a time of rapid agrarian transition with more and more of the livelihoods, income, and expenditures of farm households dependent on off-farm sources. Modernizing an agricultural sector that can sustain the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and meet the demands of an ever more discerning customer base all within the confines of a limited resource base has proved a major R&D and policy challenge for Tibetan and Chinese officials, let alone the farmers and market actors impacted by these developments. In this paper, key drivers impacting diversity in Tibetan farm households, including agrarian transition and demographic, infrastructure, and food price developments, are outlined. The impact on household economics and on the environment of the more intensive and diverse farming systems are then discussed, along with the attitudes of farm households to the changing farming systems and to their future in farming. The paper finds significant labor and environmental challenges that farm households and policy makers must grapple with if the farming system and agrarian transition trajectories are to be sustained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural Diversity)
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Open AccessArticle
Risk of Low Productivity is Dependent on Farm Characteristics: How to Turn Poor Performance into an Advantage
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5504; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195504 - 04 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The principle role of agriculture is to produce food for the increasing human population. However, the environmental footprint needs to be simultaneously reduced. Data from the Finnish Food Authority (181,108 parcels in the south-western crop production region of Finland) were used to identify [...] Read more.
The principle role of agriculture is to produce food for the increasing human population. However, the environmental footprint needs to be simultaneously reduced. Data from the Finnish Food Authority (181,108 parcels in the south-western crop production region of Finland) were used to identify the farming system, farm type, farm size, field parcel scale, physical parcel characteristics, cultivated crops, crop rotations and cultivars. Sentinel-2 derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values were used to identify fields with very low productivity. Thereby, the impacts of farm and field characteristics on risks of low NDVI values and their associated means of coping by the farmer were studied. High variations in field parcel characteristics and growth capacity were typical in the studied area. Although it is challenging for farmers, high variation can provide many opportunities for the development of multifunctional and resource-smart production systems, e.g., by optimizing land use: allocating high-quality fields for food production, and poorly performing fields for extensification, i.e., the production of environmental benefits. Many usable policy instruments are available to support such a transition, but more focus should be put onto the most efficient means to enable progress towards environmentally, economically and socially sustainable high-latitude agricultural systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural Diversity)
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Open AccessArticle
Trends and Features of Agroforestry Research Based on Bibliometric Analysis
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3473; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123473 - 25 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The world is faced with dual challenges to ensure food security for its large and still growing population and to mitigate climate change. It is necessary to develop more diversified and multifunction agricultural systems to address the challenges. Therefore, as a reasonable land [...] Read more.
The world is faced with dual challenges to ensure food security for its large and still growing population and to mitigate climate change. It is necessary to develop more diversified and multifunction agricultural systems to address the challenges. Therefore, as a reasonable land use practice, agroforestry has become the hotspot in scientific research in recent decades. This study performed quantitative and qualitative analyses of agroforestry research published between 1990 and 2018 based on bibliometric methods, expecting to guidance for further research in order to scientifically understand of the trends and features of agroforestry research over time and by region. A total of 4204 publications were obtained from Web of Science. The results show that the research interest in the agroforestry field has significantly enhanced, and about 139 countries have been involved with the research in this field. These publications cover 66 subject categories and a great diversity research theme. Since 1990, the popular keywords in agroforestry research have been changed from “Intercropping”, “Alley cropping”, and “Multipurpose trees” to “Carbon sequestration”, “Ecosystem service”, and “Climate change”. This indicates that the theme of agroforestry research has changed and the research scale is gradually expanding. Furthermore, agroforestry research themes vary with regions, since different regions have various requirements on the function of the agroforestry system. In the end, given the current trend of agroforestry science, we conclude a list of research potentials of agroforestry in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural Diversity)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Barriers Affecting Sustainable Agricultural Productivity of Smallholder Farmers in the Eastern Free State of South Africa
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3003; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113003 - 28 May 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Sustainable Agricultural Practices (SAPs) are the most promising pathways to enhance the productivity and resilience of agricultural production of smallholder farming systems while conserving the natural resources. This study was undertaken to identify the barriers affecting sustainable agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers in [...] Read more.
Sustainable Agricultural Practices (SAPs) are the most promising pathways to enhance the productivity and resilience of agricultural production of smallholder farming systems while conserving the natural resources. This study was undertaken to identify the barriers affecting sustainable agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers in the eastern Free State, South Africa. Data were collected from 359 smallholder farmers using questionnaires and the validity of the collected data was confirmed through focus group discussions with key informants. Descriptive statistics and a binary logistic regression model were used to analyze data. Results indicated that traditional SAPs such as intercropping, mulching and crop rotation were more likely to be adopted by farmers with access to land yet without access to credit (and had low levels of education, although this finding was not significant). In contrast, new SAPs such as cover cropping, minimum-tillage, tied ridging and planting pits were more knowledge (education), capital and labor intensive. Therefore, extension strategies should take these differences into consideration when promoting both the adoption of traditional SAPs and new SAPs. Targeting resource-constrained farmers (in terms of access to credit and education) through raising awareness and building capacity is essential to ensure the adoption of traditional SAPs. In turn, promoting the adoption of new SAPs not only needs awareness raising and capacity building but also must fundamentally address resource constraints of South African smallholder farmers such as knowledge, capital and labor. It is recommended that government should provide resources and infrastructure to improve the quality and outreach of extension services through field demonstration trials and training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural Diversity)
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