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Farming as if we belong


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Lefroy, EC 2003 , 'Farming as if we belong' , Pacific Conservation Biology, vol. 9, no. 1 , pp. 18-22 .

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Two fundamental changes in attitude are required before efforts to develop sustainable agricultural systems will be successful. Firstly, the deeply held and often unexamined views we have of our relationship with the natural world, particularly the view of nature as a commodity, must be challenged. Secondly, we must question our continuing faith in a knowledge-based world view as the best way to solve problems that are a consequence of that view. The history of agricultural settlement in Western Australia is an example of the view of nature as a commodity that led to failed agricultural schemes at great social and environmental costs.
We need to change the way we view nature if we are going to correct the mistakes of the past and develop sustainable agricultural systems. As explained by A. R. Main (1999, 2003), sustainable systems require not only an understanding of how nature works and has evolved, but agriculture and nature conservation need to be integrated into a single management system. In response to global problems of land degradation, some ecologists are attempting to incorporate the functional attributes of native ecosystems in the development of alternative agriculture; not by attempting to understand the functional processes in detail, but by mimicking the vegetative structure of native ecosystems (e.g., Ewel et al. 1991; Jackson 1992). This approach may serve as a useful model for research and development of sustainable agriculture in Australia.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Lefroy, EC
Journal or Publication Title: Pacific Conservation Biology
ISSN: 1038-2097
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