Sustainable agriculture: the trade-offs with productivity, stability and equitability

  • Gordon R. Conway


The phrase ‘sustainable agriculture’ has acquired a diversity of meanings. To the agriculturalist, it means maintaining the momentum of the Green Revolution. To the ecologist it is a way of providing sufficient food without degrading natural resources. To the economist it represents an efficient long term use of resources, and to the sociologist and anthropologist it embodies an agriculture that preserves traditional values. Almost anything that is perceived as ‘good’ from the writer’s perspective can fall under the umbrella of sustainable agriculture - organic farming, the small family farm, indigenous technical knowledge, biodiversity, integrated pest management, self-sufficiency, recycling and so on (Conway and Barbier, 1990).


Sustainable Agriculture Home Garden Disturbing Force Small Family Farm Shock Shock 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ashby, W.R. (1956) An Introduction to Cybernetics, Chapman & Hall, London.Google Scholar
  2. Atkinson, A.B. (1970) On the measurement of inequality. Journal of Economic Theory, 2, 244–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Atkinson, A.B. (1975) The Economics of Inequality, Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  4. Connell, J.H. and Sousa, W.P. (1983) On the evidence needed to judge ecological stability or persistence. The American Naturalist, 121, 789–824Google Scholar
  5. Conway, G.R. (1985) Agroecosystem analysis. Agricultural Administration, 20, 31–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Conway, G.R. (1986) Agroecosystem Analysis for Research and Development, Winrock International, Bangkok.Google Scholar
  7. Conway, G.R. (1987) The properties of agroecosystems. Agricultural Administration, 24, 95–117Google Scholar
  8. Conway, G.R. and Barbier, E.B. (1990) After the Green Revolution: Sustainable Agriculture for Development, Earthscan, London.Google Scholar
  9. Conway, G.R. and Sajise, P.E. (1986) The Agroecosystems of Buhi: Problems and Opportunities, Los Banos, Program on Environmental Science and Management, University of the Philippines.Google Scholar
  10. Conway, G.R., Alam, Z., Husain, T. and Mian, M.A. (1985) An Agroecosystem Analysis for the Northern Areas of Pakistan, Gilgit, Pakistan, Aga Khan Rural Support Programme.Google Scholar
  11. Conway, G.R., Sajise, P.E. and Knowland, W. (1989) Lake Buhi: resolving conflicts in a Philippine development project. Ambio, 18, 128–35.Google Scholar
  12. Ethiopian Red Cross Society (1988) Rapid Rural Appraisal: A Closer Look at Rural Life in Wollo, Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Red Cross Society, London, International Institute for Environment and Development.Google Scholar
  13. Gini, C. (1912) Variabilita e Mutabilita, Bologna.Google Scholar
  14. Gypmantasiri, P., Wiboonpongse, A., Rerkasem, B., et al. (1980) An Inter-disciplinary Perspective of Cropping Systems in the Chiang Mai Valley: Key Questions for Research, Chiang Mai, Thailand, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Chiang Mai.Google Scholar
  15. Holling, C.S. (1985) Perceiving and managing the complexity of ecological systems, in The Science and Praxis of Complexity, United Nations University, Tokyo.Google Scholar
  16. KEP AS (1984) The Sustainability of Agricultural Intensification in Indonesia: A Report of Two Workshops of the Research Group on Agroecosystems, Jakarta, Indonesia: Agency for Agricultural Research and Development.Google Scholar
  17. KEPAS (1985a) The Critical Uplands of Eastern Java: An Agroecosystem Analysis, Jakarta, Indonesia, Agency for Agricultural Research and Development.Google Scholar
  18. KEPAS (1985b) Swampland Agroecosystems of Southern Kalimantan, Jakarta, Indonesia, Agency for Agricultural Research and Development.Google Scholar
  19. KEPAS (1986) Agro-ekosistem Daerah Kering di Nusa Tenggara Timur, Jakarta, Indonesia, Agency for Agricultural Research and Development.Google Scholar
  20. KKU-Ford Cropping Systems Project.
    (1982a) An Agroecosystem Analysis of Northeast Thailand, Khon Kaen, Thailand, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University.Google Scholar
  21. KKU-Ford Cropping Systems Project (1982b) Tambon and Village Agricultural Systems in Northeast Thailand, Khon Kaen, Thailand, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University.Google Scholar
  22. Lorenz, M.O. (1905) Methods of measuring the concentration of wealth. Journal of the American Statistical Association 9, 209–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lowrance, R., Stinner, B.R. and House, G.J. (eds) (1984) Agricultural Eco-systems: Unifying Concepts, John Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Noy-Meir, I. (1975) Stability of grazing systems: an application of predator-prey graphs. Journal of Ecology, 63, 459–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Orians, G.H. (1975) Diversity, stability and maturity in natural ecosystems, in Unifying Concepts in Ecology (eds W.H. van Dobben, and R.H. Lowe-McConnel), Junk, The Hague, pp. 64–5.Google Scholar
  26. Pretty, J.N. (1990) Sustainable agriculture in the Middle Ages: The English manor. The Agricultural History Review, 38, 1–19.Google Scholar
  27. Sen, A. (1973) On Economic Inequality, W.W. Norton, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Soemarwoto, O. and Conway, G.R. (in press). The Javanese home garden. Journal of Farming Systems Research and Extension, 2, 95–117.Google Scholar
  29. Spedding, C.R.W. (1975) The Biology of Agricultural Systems, Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  30. Spedding, C.R.W. (1979) An Introduction to Agricultural Systems, Applied Science Publishers, London.Google Scholar
  31. Titow, J.Z. (1972) Winchester Yields, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  32. Trenbath, B.R., Conway, G.R. and Craig, I.A. (1990) Threats to sustainability in intensified agricultural systems: analysis and implications for management, in Agroecology: Researching the Ecological Basis for Sustainable Agriculture, (ed S.R. Gleissman), Springer-Verlag, New York, pp. 337–65.Google Scholar
  33. Vickers, G. (1980) Responsibility - Its Sources and Limits, Intersystems Publications, Seaside, California.Google Scholar
  34. Walker, B.H., Norton, G.A., Conway, G.R. et al. (1978) A procedure for multidisciplinary ecosystem research: with reference to the South African Savanna Ecosystem Project. Journal of Applied Ecology, 15, 481–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Westman, W.E. (1978) Measuring the inertia and resilience of ecosystems. Bio Science, 28, 705–10.Google Scholar
  36. Wiener, N. (1948) Cybernetics, MIT Press, Cambridge and lohn Wiley, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon R. Conway

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations