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Ecological agriculture- a way towards sustainable agricultural practice

Znaor, Darko and Bošnjaković, Branko (1996) Ecological agriculture- a way towards sustainable agricultural practice. Hrvatske vode, IV (15), pp. 157-159.

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Today, and especially in the years to come, agriculture, as well as all other human activities, will have to pay much more attention to their environmental impacts. In other words, it is expected that in the near future only technologies which care about environmental aspects will be promoted and accepted by policy makers, scientists, consumers, and society in general. This is not surprising since the environmental problems are among the most urgent ones our civilization will have to tackle and solve. This demand for more careful stewardship of environment is also acknowledged by philosophy of sustainable development - a widely recognized concept and necessity of future development.
Although established at the very beginning of this century, ecological types of agriculture (often also referred as organic or biological types of agriculture) have for long time remained on the margin of the agricultural development. This is not surprising since the last decades were the "golden ages" of conventional agriculture which achieved enormous success in many respects. However, this success was based on specialized production characterised by high external inputs and intensive chemical and energy use, which has at the same time caused substantial environmental degradations. At the other side, ecological types of agriculture have from its beginning payed respectable attention to environmental aspects of agricultural production. How to realize agricultural production trying at the same time to avoid and/or reduce environmental degradations, protecting soil, water and organisms living in agro-eco systems, as well as how to produce sufficient quantities of high quality foods are top priorities in ecological farming. These attributes, next to the minimization of external inputs and non-renewable resources show that ecological types of agriculture among others also comply with the recommendations of Chapter 14 of Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment & Development (UNCED).
Today, ecological farming practice has technical solutions for most of the problems arising during the production, and it is estimated that some 1 million ha in EU, and some 70.000 ha in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are currently being farmed according to the EU or similar (inter)national regulations on ecological agriculture, with the average annual growth rate of 25-35%. However, it must be stressed that ecological farming can be fully successful even on larger scales, but under the condition that the compliant socio-economic and political levels of society are willing to support its implementation. This paper tries to cast some more light on certain aspects and performances of this type of agricultural production. Among these, a special
attention is paid to the:
a) feasibility of ecological farming in EU and in CEE;
b) contribution ecological farming can offer concerning environmental, especially water protection;
c) recent important international and national documents, meetings and policy measures supporting sustainable development in general and environmental protection and ecological agriculture as its components in particular.
Additionally, it is also hoped that this paper can serve as a contribution towards an open and constructive dialogue concerning the possible options of sustainable (agricultural) development.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Ecological agriculture; Ecological farming; Organic agriculture; Organic farming; Central and Eastern Europe; Sustainable development
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Farming Systems
Soil > Nutrient turnover
Farming Systems > Social aspects
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Food systems
Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Environmental aspects
Research affiliation: International Organizations
Netherlands > Wageningen University & Research (WUR)
Deposited By: Znaor, Dr Darko
ID Code:26412
Deposited On:20 Jun 2014 08:04
Last Modified:20 Jun 2014 08:04
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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