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Reflections on collectively working toward sustainability: indicators for indicators!

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Freebairn, D.M. and King, C.A. (2003) Reflections on collectively working toward sustainability: indicators for indicators! Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 43 (3). pp. 223-238.


Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EA00195

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au


A variety of indicators have been developed and applied by farmers and scientists for the northern cereal belt. A general overview is presented of 'What are we trying to monitor?' followed by some example concepts; erosion hazard, salinity hazard, nutrient balance, production efficiency and participatory learning. These examples illustrate the complexity of indicator application and their dependence on context, purpose and scale. Emphasis is given to providing a rationale for developing indicators that focus on 'soft' system status (e.g. behaviour) as well as 'hard' system status. The propositions put forward are that indicators need to be integrated with the development of improved management systems, and that land managers (and community) as a collective, are key to this process. Some frequently asked questions about indicator development and application are responded to. Some 'Indicators for Indicators' that we have found useful in aiding indicator development, particularly in participatory fora are presented.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Reproduced with permission from © CSIRO Publishing. Access to published version may be available via Publisher’s website.
Keywords:Farming systems; sustainability indicators; soft systems; participatory development; resource management.
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Special aspects of agriculture as a whole > Sustainable agriculture
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Live Archive:28 Jan 2004
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:47

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