An interesting insight into the work of ENDURE’s research teams addressing multicriteria assessment of crop protection methods and cropping systems and the Orchard System Case Study will be presented at July’s International Farming Systems Association Symposium in Vienna, Austria.
As part of the workshop focused on ‘Methods and procedures for building sustainable farming systems’, Patrik Mouron from Agroscope Reckonholz-Tänikon, Research Station ART in Switzerland will be presenting the paper A multicriteria decision method assessing the overall sustainability of new crop protection strategies: the case of apple growing in Europe .
The paper, which can be downloaded below, has been produced by a 20-strong team involving researchers from France, Germany, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and The Netherlands. It notes that protecting apple crops mainly relies on pesticides although several alternative strategies are available.
A major cause of this, says the paper, is the fact that multiple environmental and economic aspects have to be considered simultaneously, making it difficult to establish if one strategy is more sustainable than another.
‘In our study we investigated the elements that need to be considered in order to reach transparency upon the overall result of the sustainability assessment,’ say the authors in the paper’s abstract. ‘We present a system description tool created specially for data collection required by life cycle assessment, environmental risk assessment and full cost calculations.
‘Using the various results from these assessments as qualitative attributes we designed a multicriteria tool that allows us to aggregate sustainability attributes over five levels to an overall sustainability rating. An example, assessing different crop protection systems of apple production, demonstrates the transparency of this method.
‘We conclude that rating scales and decision rules might substantially influence the overall sustainability rating. Therefore, the definition of rating scales and decision rules should be carefully set and discussed among the research teams. In our case experts have participated from five European countries being partners of the EU-FP6 project ENDURE.’
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