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Implementation of the concept of sustainable intensification to a real farm – Was its development over 17 years a sustainable intensification?

Siebrecht, Norman, Schmid, Harald
International journal of agricultural sustainability 2020 v.18 no.2 pp. 151-171
biogas, farms, organic production, sustainable agricultural intensification
‘Sustainable intensification’ (SI) in agriculture is the objective of several contributions. An important question concerns whether farms have already reached SI? To answer this question, an assessment approach is required. Unfortunately, there is no universally accepted approach available. This study presents an assessment approach that was adapted for the assessment of a real farm. The farm was analysed for over 17 years, and the development of the farm is presented and evaluated in terms of SI. Within this study, the adaption of the approach for the assessment is first described based on a defined procedure. Based on these results, whether the farm has reached SI is discussed. The most important results are that the farm has established a process of intensification. To assess the ‘environmental sustainability’ of this process, several subthemes and indicators are analysed. From 17 selected parameters, 7 declines, 6 improve and 4 remain almost constant. Whether the development can be called ‘sustainable intensification’ is discussed then. We finally draw attention to existing methodological deficits and limitations that will be included in later work or that could be considered in other assessment approaches.