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Concern about sustaining agriculture stems from the growing realization that deficiencies inmeeting the social, economic and ecospheric purposes of agriculture may jeopardize its rolein provisioning future generations of humans. The problem arises within the complexity ofthe agricultural system. This complex human system is difficult to model using the strongcausality principle so successfully applied to disciplinary parts of the system. Almost twentyyears ago, Samuelson addressed this issue with modifications to the Lotka Volterapredator-prey model. More recently, Mandelbrot's discovery of fractal geometry andindependent work on the persistence and stability behaviour of nonlinear dynamical systemshave generated new hope for modelling the holism of complex systems. This paper examinesthese developments in the context of sustainable agriculture and the role of cooperativeprocesses. Sustainability emerges as a matter of seeking flexibility and solving problems atthe boundaries of systems rather than seeking the correct trajectory or arriving at anequilibrium. The conclusions are that sustention of agriculture is a purpose-related concept,that the domain of attraction about an equilibrium is more important than the equilibriumitself, and that the bifurcation and adjoining of sets of trajectories of system variables atsystem boundaries is at the centre of development processes for sustainable agriculture andcooperation.

Keywords: Sustainable agriculture ; dynamical systems ; predator-prey ; fractals

Subject(s): Agribusiness

Agricultural Finance

Production Economics

Issue Date: 1991

Publication Type: Working or Discussion Paper

PURL Identifier: http://purl.umn.edu/232494

Total Pages: 14

Series Statement: Staff Paper


Record appears in: University of Alberta > Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology (REES) > Staff Paper Series

Autor: Apedaile, L.P.

Fuente: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/232494?ln=en

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