Assessment of the Growth in Social Groups for Sustainable Agriculture and Land Management

Pretty, Jules and Attwood, Simon and Bawden, Richard and van den Berg, Henk and Bharucha, Zareen Pervez and Dixon, John and Butler Flora, Cornelia and Gallagher, Kevin and Genskow, Ken and Hartley, Sue and Ketelaar, Jan Willem and Kiara, Japhet and Kumar, Vijay and Lu, Yuelai and MacMillan, Tom and Maréchal, Anne and Morales-Abubakar, Alma L. and Noble, Andrew and Prasad, P. V. Vara and Rametsteiner, Ewald and Reganold, John and Ricks, Jacob I. and Rockström, Johan and Saito, Osamu and Thorne, Peter and Wang, Songliang and Wittman, Hannah and Winter, Michael and Yang, Pu-Yun (2020) Assessment of the Growth in Social Groups for Sustainable Agriculture and Land Management. Global Sustainability, 3. e23. ISSN 2059-4798

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For agriculture and land management to improve natural capital over whole landscapes, social cooperation has long been required. The political economy of the later 20th and early 21st centuries prioritised unfettered individual action over the collective, and many rural institutions were harmed or destroyed. Since then, a wide range of social movements, networks and federations have emerged to support transitions toward sustainability and equity. Here we focus on social capital manifested as intentionally-formed collaborative groups within specific geographic territories. These groups focus on 1) integrated pest management; 2) forests; 3) land; 4) water; 5) pastures; 6) support services; 7) innovation platforms; 8) small-scale systems. We show across 122 initiatives in 55 countries that the number of groups has grown from 0.5M (at 2000) to 8.54M (2020). The area of land transformed by the 170-255M group members is 300 Mha, mostly in less-developed countries (98% groups; 94% area). Farmers and land managers working with scientists and extensionists in these groups have improved both environmental outcomes and agricultural productivity. In some cases, changes to national or regional policy supported this growth in groups. Together with other movements, these social groups could now support further transitions towards policies and behaviours for global sustainability.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Social Capital, Sustainable Intensification, Sustainable Agriculture, Redesign
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2020 08:32
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:52

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