Sustainability is an important issue in the development debate but
there is little consensus regarding what sustainable development
really means and how its attainment can be evaluated. This book
attempts to address the question of how the sustainability of
agriculture could be assessed; the idea is then applied and
analyzed in the case of a river watershed in Costa Rica. The
sustainability of agriculture is described by indicators at the
plot-, farm- and watershed-level. Reference values are determined
which allow the measurement of changes in the indicator values
caused by current land use. Multivariate statistical procedures and
the assessment of frontier production functions for the principal
crops are the main instruments of the empirical analysis.
Furthermore, economic social and environmental indicators are
aggregated to a sustainability index at the farm level in order to
allow for comparison between farms. Policy options and possible
interventions for the improvement of sustainability are then
discussed and the study concludes with the lessons learned and
suggestions for further research.
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