|Sustainability Assessment of Agricultural Systems - Challenges and Perspectives. Final report on the TA project|
For years, there has been a broad and controversial discussion in Germany and other countries about which type of land management is most sustainable ecologically, socially and economically and how progress can be made towards sustainability. TAB-Arbeitsbericht Nr. 188 examines the possibilities of a comparative sustainability assessment of agricultural systems in order to generate more differentiated information on agricultural sustainability. The first part of the working report deals with the development of agricultural structure in Germany and the effects of agricultural structural change on the sustainability of agriculture. Overall, a mixed picture emerges for the relationship between agricultural structural change on the one hand and economic, social and ecological sustainability on the other. In the second part, the available and used approaches for the sustainability assessment of individual farms, selected value chains or products (e.g. palm oil, soy) as well as the entire agricultural sector are presented. Sustainability assessments for aggregation levels between the individual farm and the entire agricultural sector, on the other hand, have hardly been carried out so far. In order to arrive at approaches for a sustainability assessment of agricultural systems as an orientation framework for an economically viable, socially and environmentally compatible design of future agricultural and environmental policy, the third part reviews the current state of knowledge on the comparison of conventional and organic agriculture with regard to their sustainability impacts and identifies any remaining gaps and methodological weaknesses. The need for action necessary for the (further) development of a sustainability assessment of agricultural systems is identified.