Open Access
Agron. Sustain. Dev.
Volume 29, Number 1, January-March 2009
Page(s) 1 - 6
Published online 02 December 2008
Agron. Sustain. Dev. 29 (2009) 1-6
DOI: 10.1051/agro:2008054

Agronomy for sustainable agriculture. A review

Eric Lichtfouse1, Mireille Navarrete2, Philippe Debaeke3, Véronique Souchère4, Caroline Alberola5 and Josiane Ménassieu6

1  INRA, Editor-in-Chief, Journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development, INRA-CMSE-PME, 17 rue Sully, 21000 Dijon, France
2  INRA, Associate Editor, Unité SAD Ecodéveloppement, 84914 Avignon Cedex 09, France
3  INRA, Associate Editor, UMR AGIR, BP 52627, 31326 Toulouse Cedex, France
4  INRA, UMR SAD APT, INRA-INA PG, BP 01, 78850 Thiverval Grignon, France
5  INRA, Editorial Assistant, journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development, Bât. PSH-B, Site Agroparc, 84914 Avignon Cedex 9, France
6  Past-Editorial Secretary, Hameau de Besses, Ancienne École, 07310 Saint-Martial, France

Accepted 1 October 2008 ; published online 2 December 2008

Abstract - Sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Starving people in poor nations, obesity in rich nations, increasing food prices, on-going climate changes, increasing fuel and transportation costs, flaws of the global market, worldwide pesticide pollution, pest adaptation and resistance, loss of soil fertility and organic carbon, soil erosion, decreasing biodiversity, desertification, and so on. Despite unprecedented advances in sciences allowing us to visit planets and disclose subatomic particles, serious terrestrial issues about food show clearly that conventional agriculture is no longer suited to feeding humans and preserving ecosystems. Sustainable agriculture is an alternative for solving fundamental and applied issues related to food production in an ecological way (Lal (2008) Agron. Sustain. Dev. 28, 57–64.). While conventional agriculture is driven almost solely by productivity and profit, sustainable agriculture integrates biological, chemical, physical, ecological, economic and social sciences in a comprehensive way to develop new farming practices that are safe and do not degrade our environment. To address current agronomical issues and to promote worldwide discussions and cooperation we implemented sharp changes at the journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development from 2003 to 2006. Here we report (1) the results of the renovation of the journal and (2) a short overview of current concepts of agronomical research for sustainable agriculture. Considered for a long time as a soft, side science, agronomy is rising fast as a central science because current issues are about food, and humans eat food. This report is the introductory article of the book Sustainable Agriculture, volume 1, published by EDP Sciences and Springer (Lichtfouse et al. (2009) Sustainable Agriculture, Vol. 1, Springer, EDP Sciences, in press).

Key words: sustainable agriculture / climate change / biodiversity / agronomy for sustainable development / organic farming / pest control / food / water / soil / pesticide / farming system

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2008