Special Issue "Renewable Agriculture"
A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2009).
Dr. Stephen S. Jones
Director, Northwestern Research and Extension Center, Washington State University, Mount Vernon, Washington 98273, USA
For centuries the perceived need for an immediate and dramatic increase in agricultural production has been a theme throughout the developed world. But only very recently, and with less urgency, has society recognized the need for the true sustainability of agricultural production. For long-term sustainability, agriculture must have the capacity for renewal.
Even the most basic forms of agriculture require an input of energy, this in essence is what defines the system as agricultural. Starting with human and animal labor, energy inputs have developed into an industrial system using fertilizers, water, seed, pest control, and other products often brought in from off the farm. While these products may increase production, for the most part they are non-renewable, require vast amounts of fuel to produce and transport, are costly, and may harm the native organisms and environment. Additionally, most seed in industrial agriculture is non-renewable due to legal and genetic mechanisms that make it problematic for farmers to save and replant what they have grown on their farms.
Is a renewable agriculture with a high level of productivity possible? What research is underway to test the robustness of current systems when measured against a standard of true long-term sustainability?
Stephen S. Jones, Ph. D.
- renewable agriculture
- sustainable food systems