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Ecological economics and organic farming

Kledal, Paul Rye; Kjeldsen, Chris; Refsgaard, Karen and Söderbaum, Peter (2006) Ecological economics and organic farming. In: Halberg, Niels; Alrøe, Hugo; Knudsen, Marie and kristensen, Erik Steen (Eds.) Global Development of Organic Agriculture. CABI Publishing, chapter 4, pp. 113-133.

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Ecological economics (EE) is proposed as an approach to decision making and planning in organic farming. It is argued that EE is better suited for this task than the conventional neoclassical economy approach. The contribution that EE can make to the organic farming movement is apparent on the ontological level, through its focus on socio-economic systems as nested subsystems of the ecosystem. In addition, EE’s stance on the issues of allocation, distribution and scale seems to constitute a more appropriate conceptualization about the interaction between socio-economic systems and the environment, which is more closely aligned to the principal aims of the organic farming movement. The concepts of time and scale are used as examples of how EE, with input from political economy, can help highlight problematic issues regarding the interaction between farming systems and their biophysical environment, which are not addressed in the neoclassical approach. Material Flow Accounting and Analysis (MFA) and Multicriteria Analysis (MCA) are discussed as practical examples of the framework that EE can provide for decision-making. It is concluded that, by reconceptualizing the way in which organic farming manages the complex interrelations between ecological and socio-economic systems, the EE paradigm and its frameworks for decision-making can be of considerable value to the organic farming movement.

EPrint Type:Book chapter
Keywords:Ecological economics, Environmental economics, resource economics, organic farming, politcal economy
Subjects: Environmental aspects
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > III.7 (SAMSON) Future supply and marketing strategies in the Danish organic food-sector
Deposited By: Kledal, Researcher Paul Rye
ID Code:7427
Deposited On:07 Mar 2006
Last Modified:09 Aug 2012 13:20
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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