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Widespread opinions about organic agriculture

are they supported by scientific evidence?

Bergström, Lars and Kirchmann, Holger and Thorvaldsson, Gudni (2008). Widespread opinions about organic agriculture. I/In: Organic crop production : ambitions and limitations. Sid./p. 1-13. Springer, Dordrecht
ISBN 978-1-4020-9315-9
[Book Chapter]

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Official URL: http://www.springer.com/life+sci/agriculture/book/...


Organic agriculture ostensibly offers a concept of sustainable practices based on environmental responsibility. It is widely believed that organic principles based on natural means and methods are environmentally sound and thus superior to systems based on artificial inputs. This overview summarises the main results on organic agriculture and highlights relevant facts in order to provide scientific information about the potential and limitations of organic agriculture. The topics of food security and safety, environmental quality, system sustainability and energy consumption are addressed. Some of the main conclusions are that organic agriculture has consistently lower yields than conventional production and is thereby a less efficient method of land use; that environmental problems caused by processes such as nutrient leaching are not reduced by conversion to organic crop production; and that soil fertility status and microbial biodiversity are not improved a priori by organic cropping. The energy investment for production of artificial N fertilisers results in a five- to ten-fold energy return in the form of biomass and this highly positive energy balance needs to be fully acknowledged. The future challenge of developing sustainable forms of agriculture to provide sufficient food for a growing world population with minimal environmental disturbance deserves our wholehearted and unbiased attention.

Authors/Creators:Bergström, Lars and Kirchmann, Holger and Thorvaldsson, Gudni
Title:Widespread opinions about organic agriculture
Subtitle:are they supported by scientific evidence?
Year of publishing :2008
Page range:1-13
Publisher:Springer, Dordrecht
ISBN for printed version:978-1-4020-9315-9
Additional Information:The original publication is available at http://www.springer.com
Publication Type:Book Chapter
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:Obsolete subject words > FORESTRY, AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES and LANDSCAPE PLANNING > Soil science
Keywords:Carbon sequestration, Energy issues, Food production, Natural toxins, Nutrient leaching, Pesticide residues, Soil fertility
Permanent URL:
ID Code:3508
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
(S) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
Deposited By: Staff Epsilon
Deposited On:23 Jan 2009 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:22

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