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Sustainable Agriculture

Although there is no one definition of sustainable agriculture, most incorporate the ideals encompassed in the following definitions:

"an agriculture that can evolve indefinitely toward greater human utility, greater efficiency of resource use, and a balance with the environment that is favorable both to humans and to most other species"

Harwood, 1990

"...sustainability lies in the dynamic nature of its fundamental components: ecological (spatial and temporal relations, diversity, stability, and resilience; economic (resource distribution and allocation); and social (equity, access, stewardship and institutions)."

Miller and Wali, 1995

The agroecosystem is made up of many interacting components with multiple goals. Soil quality is one important part of sustainable agroecosystem management, analogous to water and air quality. Assessing soil quality may help managers identify practices that could be adapted to become more sustainable.

Soil quality is one aspect of sustainable agroecosystem management.

sustainability diagram

Harwood, R.R. 1990. A history of sustainable agriculture. C.A. Edwards, R. Lal, P. Madden, R.H. Miller and G. House, eds. Sustainable Agricultural Systems. Soil and Water Conservation Society, Ankeny, IA.

Miller, F.P. and M.K. Wali. 1995. Soils, land use and sustainable agriculture: a review. Canadian Journal of Soil Science. 75 (4): 413-422.