Rethinking Society Dependence

Globalisation of the market for food, fuels and other goods has undoubtedly induced positive effects such as lowering prices and fostering collaborations among citizens and nation. However, it has also induced serious dependence problems such as a sharp increase of maize prices in Mexico following the fast-rising use of maize as biofuels in northern countries. Another striking example is the peak of petroleum prices that has impacted almost all nations. A recent failure of the European electricity grid resulting in thousands of home without current for several days further illustrates the weaknesses of global dependence. We also know that crop control with pesticides is contaminating drinking water, even many years after the ban of those pesticides (Barth et al. 2009), and so on. As a result, though we live at a time of outstanding technology, the excess of dependence created by wild globalisation has strongly weakened our society. In case of major catastrophic events, the society structures were probably more secure 100 years ago because most people were farmers, producing and consuming locally. The fundamental sources of our actual society issues are evidenced in the visionary article by Dr. Rattan Lal, entitled Tragedy of the global commons: soil, water and air (Lal, 2009b).

Though this is a very sensitive topic because dependence is the basis of most public and private organisations, the adverse effects of dependence have been largely overlooked because benefits such as growth and profit have predominated until now. Environmental, social and security impacts have indeed not been taken into account. Therefore, we should rethink dependence. More specifically, the production of food, fuels and other goods, their transportation and their selling should be redesigned and controlled to lower dependence among people and nations. For instance, producing and consuming food more locally will both reduce dependence and decrease the ecological footprint of long-range transportation. Switching partly to renewable, locally produced energies will also produce a similar positive effect.

Of course, less dependence does not mean no dependence and no collaboration among people and nations. The degree of dependence should be adapted to the nature of goods or energy, their transportation, selling, ecological footprint, and social impact. Some goods may be distributed globally without weakening the nations, others may not be so. Obviously, the southern, poorest nations should be at the same time supplied with food and helped to produce their own food and energy. Scientists and policy makers should therefore study, assess and enforce the relevant level of goods circulation. Here, the tools developed by agronomists to build sustainable farming systems should be particularly useful because agriculture is the foundation of society (Lal, 2009c; Lichtfouse et al. 2009a). Agronomists are indeed experts at deciphering mechanisms occurring at various scales, from the molecule to the global scale, and from seconds to centuries.

Agronomy should thus be used as a core tool to build a sustainable society. Table 1.1 gathers the major practices of sustainable agriculture, and their main benefits. It should thus help readers to build rapidly an overall vision of the current innovative tools and approaches to build a sustainable world.

Table 1.1 Practices of sustainable agriculture. Most citations are review articles published in the following books: Sustainable Agriculture (Lichtfouse et al. 2009b); Sustainable Agriculture Reviews, vol 1 Organic farming, pest control and remediation of soil pollutants (Lichtfouse, 2009c); Sustainable Agriculture Reviews, vol 2 Climate change, intercropping, pest control and beneficial microorganisms (Lichtfouse, 2009d); Sustainable Agriculture Reviews, vol 3 Sociology, organic farming, climate change and soil science (Lichtfouse, 2009e, this volume)

Practices

Benefits

References

Agroforestry

Homestead agroforestry

Carbon sequestration Diversification Disease control Employment Food security Higher biodiversity Higher relative plant density Less soil erosion Mitigate climate change Nutrient recycling Pest control Water quality

Carruba and Catalano (2009) Etchevers et al. (2009) Lal (2009e) Malézieux et al. (2009) Miah and Hussein (2009) Palaniappan et al. (2009) Spiertz (2009) Zuazo and Pleguezuelo (2009)

Allelopathy

Biofumigation

Biopesticides

Hormones

Plant growth regulators and other biochemicals

Adaptation to climate change Decreasing costs Drought tolerance Food security Increase water uptake Less pesticides Weed control

Aroca and Ruiz-Lozano

(2009) Biesaga-Kocielniak and

Filek (2009) Farooq et al. (2009a, b) Kalinova (2009) Khan et al. (2009b) Martinez-Ballesta et al.

Aquaculture

Diversification Food security Recycling farm wastes

Palaniappan et al. (2009)

1 Society Issues, Painkiller Solutions, Dependence and Sustainable Agriculture 5

Table 1.1 (continued)

Practices

Benefits

References

Beneficial microorganisms

Bioremediation

Aroca and Ruiz-Lozano

and insects

Biosensors

(2009)

Cheaper fertilisation

Bonilla and Bolaños (2009)

Disease control

Deguine et al (2009)

Drought tolerance

Gamalero et al. (2009)

Increasing nutrient uptake

Garg and Geetanjali (2009)

Increasing plant growth

Ghorbani et al. (2009a)

Pest control

Gregoire et al. (2009)

Phytoremediation

Holb (2009)

Pollinisation

Joner and Leyval (2009)

Khan et al. (2009a, b)

Latour et al. (2009)

Saha (2009)

Viebahn et al. (2009)

Wrage et al. (2009)

Yair et al. (2009)

Biofertilisation

Disease resistance

Bonilla and Bolaños (2009)

Biofortification

Drought resistance

Dordas (2009)

Foliar sprays

Higher micronutrient levels

Farooq et al. (2009a)

Less malnutrition

Ghorbani et al. (2009a)

Improving human health

Viebahn et al. (2009)

Salt resistance

Wrage et al. (2009)

Zuo and Zhang (2009)

Biofuels

Carbon neutral

Ceotto (2009)

Higher biodiversity

Lal (2009d, e)

Local source of energy

Hill (2009)

Mitigate climate change

Miah and Hussein (2009)

Renewable fuels

Scholz et al. (2009)

Biological control

Cheap control

Askary (2009)

(see also beneficial

Disease control

Clergue et al. (2009)

organisms and insects)

Higher biodiversity

Deguine et al (2009)

Less or no pesticide

Ferron and Deguine (2009)

Pest control

Ghorbani et al. (2009b)

Wildlife conservation

Holb (2009)

Latour et al. (2009) Viebahn et al. (2009) Yair et al. (2009)

Latour et al. (2009) Viebahn et al. (2009) Yair et al. (2009)

Biological nitrogen fixation

(see also cover crops)

Alternative fertilisation Food security Increases plant growth Increases soil N Less, no mineral fertilisers Local fertiliser Mitigate climate change Nutrient recycling

Bonilla and Bolaños (2009) Garg and Geetanjali (2009) Khan et al. (2009b) Knörzer et al. (2009) Rodiño et al. (2009) Spiertz (2009)

Table 1.1 (continued)

Practices

Benefits

References

Breeding

Recurrent mass selection

Adaptation to climate change Disease resistance Drought resistance Genetic diversity Salinity resistance

Banilas et al. (2009) Carruba and Catalano

(2009) Hejnak et al. (2009) Marais and Botes (2009) Martinez-Ballesta et al. (2009)

Carbon sequestration

(see also organic amendments)

Decreases erosion Higher nutrient retention Higher soil biodiversity Higher water retention Mitigate climate change Offset CO2 emissions Prevent desertification

Anderson (2009b) Erhart and Hartl (2009) Benbi and Brar (2009) Bernoux et al (2009) Etchevers et al. (2009) Füleky and Benedek (2009) Ghorbani et al. (2009b) Lal (2009c, d, e, f) Malézieux et al. (2009) Nguyen (2009) Pati et al. (2009) Shaxson (2009) Stagnari et al. (2009)

Conservation agriculture

Air, soil and water protection Biodiversity conservation Decreases erosion Decreases pollution Higher water retention Improves soil structure Mitigates climate change Reduces farm costs Reduces flooding Reduces work time

Palaniappan et al. (2009) Stagnari et al. (2009)

Crop rotation

Biofertilisation

Anderson (2009a, b)

Enhances soil organic matter

Dordas (2009)

Increases biodiversity

Erhart and Hartl (2009)

Increases soil N

Ghorbani et al. (2009a)

Increases water use efficiency

Kalinova (2009)

Plant disease control

Lal (2009e)

Water conservation

Spiertz (2009)

Weed control

Stagnari et al. (2009)

Cover crops

Improves fertility

Kalinova (2009)

Improves water availability

Malézieux et al. (2009)

Nutrient recycling

Pati et al. (2009)

Reduces costs

Runyon et al. (2009)

Soil erosion and runoff

Stagnari et al. (2009)

control

Wu and Sardo (2009)

Weed control

Zuazo and Pleguezuelo (2009)

Table 1.1 (continued)

Practices

Benefits

References

Decision support systems

Farming systems Indicators Land husbandry Modelling

Assess sustainability Design sustainable practices Integrate various sciences Integrate space and time levels

Forecast farming system evolution Forecast impacts Optimise ecological benefits Optimise performance

Barth et al. (2009) Bockstaller et al. (2009a, b) Clergue et al. (2009) Debaeke et al. (2009) Doré et al. (2009) Duru and Hubert (2009) Faivre et al. (2009) Handayani and Prawito

(2009) Karami and Keshavarz

(2009) Mir and Qadrri (2009) Roger-Estrade et al. (2009) Sadok et al. (2009) Shaxson (2009) Veldkamp et al. (2009) Wu and Sardo (2009) Zamykal and Everingham (2009)

Grass strips Buffering strips Filtering strips Artificial wetlands

Degrade pesticides Reduce soil erosion Reduce water pollution

Gregoire et al. (2009) Lacas et al. (2009) Wu and Sardo (2009)

Integrated pest management

Decreases pesticide input Decreases pollution Decreases cost

D'Addabbo et al. (2009) Deguine et al. (2009) Ferron and Deguine (2009) Holb (2009) Wu and Sardo (2009)

Intercropping

Alternative crops

Aesthetic value Biofortification Diversification Decreases erosion Increases biodiversity Increases yield Increases soil nitrogen Recycles nutrients Pest control Plant disease control

Carruba and Catalano

(2009) Deguine et al. (2009) Dordas (2009) Etchevers et al. (2009) Kalinova (2009) Knorzer et al. (2009) Malézieux et al. (2009) Palaniappan et al. (2009) Spiertz (2009) Zuo and Zhang (2009)

Irrigation

Drip irrigation

Food security Saves water

Hillel (2008) Lal (2009e)

Palaniappan et al. (2009) Wu and Sardo (2009)

E. Lichtfouse

Table 1.1 (continued)

Practices

Benefits

References

Mechanical weed control

Disease control

Anderson (2009a)

Solarisation

Food security

Carruba and Catalano

Flaming

Increases yield

(2009)

Heating

Increases plant growth

Chicouene (2009)

Improves water availability

D'Addabbo et al. (2009)

Increases soil nutrients

Holb (2009)

Less or no herbicides

Weed control

Mulching

Improves soil structure

D'Addabbo et al. (2009)

(see also Organic

Prevents frost damage

Kalinova (2009)

amendments and Carbon

Soil water conservation

Lal (2009e, f)

sequestration)

Soil temperature moderation

Shaxson (2009)

Weed control

Wu and Sardo (2009)

No tillage

Disease control

Anderson (2009a, b)

Reduced tillage

Improves soil structure

Bernoux et al. (2009)

Conservation tillage

Increases biodiversity

Deguine et al. (2009)

Direct seeding

Increases carbon sequestration

Etchevers et al. (2009)

Mitigates climate change

Ghorbani et al. (2009a)

Reduces erosion

Lal (2009e, f)

Reduces farm costs

Pati et al. (2009)

Reduces work time

Roger-Estrade et al. (2009)

Water retention

Scholz et al. (2009)

Shaxson (2009)

Stagnari et al. (2009)

Wu and Sardo (2009)

Organic amendments

Buffer soil temperature

Baize (2009)

Sewage sludge

Cheap fertilisation

Bernoux et al. (2009)

Manure

Carbon sequestration

Dordas (2009)

Organic mulch

Disease control

Etchevers et al. (2009)

Biochar

Decreases erosion

Erhart and Hartl (2009)

Biosolid

Increases microbial activity

Füleky and Benedek (2009)

Compost

Increases yield

Ghorbani et al. (2009a, b)

Crop residues

Improves soil structure

Gresta et al. (2009)

Wood, etc. (see also carbon

Mitigates climate change

Holb (2009)

sequestration)

Recycles waste

Kalinova (2009)

Stores soil nutrients

Lal (2009e)

Water retention

Palaniappan et al. (2009)

Pati et al. (2009)

Saha(2009)

Scholz et al. (2009)

Shaxson (2009)

Sigua (2009)

Spiertz (2009)

Stagnari et al. (2009)

Table 1.1 (continued)

Practices

Benefits

References

Organic farming

Carbon sequestration Decreases erosion Disease control Food security Increases biodiversity Increases fertility Increases soil carbon Increases soil nitrogen Higher soil quality Improves soil structure Mitigates climate change Recycles nutrients Social improvement

Erhart and Hartl (2009) Füleky and Benedek (2009) Ghorbani et al. (2009a, b) Handayani and Prawito

(2009) Holb (2009) Kalinova (2009) Lamine and Bellon (2009) Saha (2009) Spiertz (2009) Winter and Davis (2007) Wu and Sardo (2009)

Phytoremediation

(see also grass strips)

Aesthetic improvement Cleans soil, water and air Decreases pollutant bioavailability Decreases pollutant toxicity Decreases pollutant concentration Degrades organic pollutants Extracts metals from soils Low-cost remediation Socially-acceptable reclamation

Al-Najar et al. (2005) Babula et al. (2009) Baraud et al. (2005) Harvey et al. (2002) Joner and Leyval (2009) Khan et al. (2009b) Morel et al. (1999) Rodriguez et al. (2005) Scholz et al. (2009) Wahid et al. (2009)

Precision agriculture

Robotic agriculture

Disease control Manages crop variability Manages crop conditions variability Optimises fertilisation Optimises watering Weed control

Sardo (2009) Unibots

Wu and Sardo (2009) Zamykal and Everingham (2009)

Seed invigoration

Dormancy management Drought resistance Flood resistance Increases yield Low temperature resistance Salt stress resistance

Farooq et al. (2009a, b)

Sociology

Indigenous knowledge

Behaviour, attitude approach Better adoption of practices Eco-protection Ecological modernisation Equity

Human dimension, traditions Integrated, holistic approach Integrates economic factors Integrates people culture, religions Resource-conserving practices Tackles sources of issues

Handayani and Prawito

(2009) Karami and Keshavarz

(2009) Palaniappan et al. (2009) Wu and Sardo (2009)

(continued)

(continued)

Table 1.1 (continued)

Practices

Benefits

References

Soil restoration

Decreases desertification Decreases poverty and hunger Decreases soil erosion Disease control Food security Increases biodiversity Increases yield Improves water quality Less pollutants

Anderson (2009b) Baize (2009) Barth et al. (2009) Bernoux et al. (2009) Changwen and Jianmin

(2009) Etchevers et al. (2009) Erhart and Hartl (2009) Ghorbani et al. (2009a, b) Handayani and Prawito

(2009) Knörzer et al. (2009) Lal (2009a, b, c, d, e, f) Pati et al. (2009) Roger-Estrade et al. (2009) Saha (2009) Sigua (2009) Shaxson (2009) Wrage et al. (2009)

Suicidal germination

Parasitic plant control

Runyon et al. (2009)

Terracing

Carbon sequestration Increases yield Soil erosion control

Doumbia et al. (2009) Zuazo and Pleguezuelo (2009)

Transgenic crops

Biopesticide Drugs, vaccines Easier weed control Higher income Increase yield Insect management Less pesticide treatments Reduced tillage

Bonny (2009) Deguine et al. (2009) Devos et al. (2009) Graef (2009) Marvier (2009) Sanchis and Bourguet

(2009) Torres et al. (2009)

Trap crops

Pest control

Deguine et al. (2009) Kalinova (2009) Runyon et al. (2009) Torres et al. (2009)

Urban agriculture

Local agriculture

Food security Lower prices

Less environmental footprint Less transportation Local production and use Mitigates climate change Recycles wastes Provides employment

De Bon et al. (2009) Miah and Hussein (2009)

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