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FP7

Low input farming systems - An opportunity to develop sustainable agriculture

Funded under: FP7-JRC

Abstract

The concept of sustainability applied to agriculture developed mainly as a result of growing awareness of negative impacts of intensive farming systems on the environment and the quality of life of rural and neighbouring communities. Intensive farming systems are based on genetically uniform crops and livestock breeds, vulnerable to pests and diseases. High yields are obtained through dependency on external inputs (especially fossil energy, fertilizers and pesticides) which can cause decreased air, water, soil and food quality. Intensification and specialisation also bring about landscape changes, resulting in its homogenisation and destruction of traditional landscape elements and, consequently, loss of habitats. Marginal areas, on the other hand, are threatened with cessation of agricultural practices and land abandonment. All these factors also lead, directly or indirectly, to the loss of biodiversity. Lewandowski et al. defined in 1999 sustainable agriculture as 'the management and utilization of the agricultural ecosystem in a way that maintains its biological diversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality, and ability to function, so that it can fulfill - today and in the future - significant ecological, economic and social functions at the local, national and global levels and does not harm other ecosystems'. The search for sustainability of agriculture inevitably leads to the exploration of the potential of Low Input Farming Systems (LIFS) to achieve this goal.

Additional information

Authors: BIALA K, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra (IT);TERRES J, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra (IT);POINTEREAU P, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 23060 EN (2008), 127 pp. Free of Charge
Availability: http://bookshop.europa.eu/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/EU-Bookshop-Site/en_GB/-/EUR/ViewPublication-Start?PublicationKey=LBNA23060 (Catalogue Number: LB-NA-23060-EN-C)
ISBN: ISBN: 978-92-79-08007-4
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