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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Summer 2004

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[Board accepted]

Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Forestry: A Bibliographic Essay

Caroline D. Harnly
Reference Librarian and Physical and Applied Sciences Subject Specialist
J. Paul Leonard Library
San Francisco State University


Sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry are important environmental issues and as such are areas in which academic and research libraries should be building their collections. The author evaluated over 250 books on these topics in order to determine the 100 most relevant books on these topics. The books are divided into general works and geographic categories and are briefly discussed. Relevant reference books, journals, electronic databases, research institutes, non-governmental organizations, and U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. National Agricultural Library programs are also noted.


This essay discusses 100 significant books published on sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry. Concern about deforestation, global warming, the ozone layer, the accumulation of chemicals in soils, food safety, and leaving viable land for future generations have all contributed to the current interest in sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry.

Sustainable agriculture started to generate significant interest in the 1980s. It has come to represent not just a different set of technologies to conventional agriculture, but an alternative belief system as well. Many of the books listed in this essay discuss how difficult it is to define sustainable agriculture precisely . However, it has come to serve as an umbrella term for alternative agriculture, agroecology, low-input agriculture, permaculture, biological agriculture, regenerative agriculture, and organic agriculture. Sustainable agriculture, as a belief system, emphasizes reduced chemical use, the view of the world as a global village, respect for nature, and family and group self-reliance (D'Souza 1998). It integrates three goals: environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity (Malkina-Pykh and Pykh 2003).

Sustainable forestry also started to generate significant interest in the 1980s as a result of worldwide concern over the effects of deforestation. Sustainable forestry is viewed as an alternative to monoculture plantation forestry and clearcutting. It has come to represent a system of forest management that relies on natural processes to maintain a forest's continuing capacity to produce a stable and perpetual yield of harvested timber. It also recognizes the fact that forests have values other than being a source of timber; such as, serving as a source of plant-based medicines, a home for wildlife, and places to enjoy hiking and solitude (Ness 2003).

This essay discusses books, book chapters, reference materials, journals, electronic databases, and research institutes devoted to the issues surrounding sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry. All of these materials were published in the past 15 years. The list of books chosen for this essay is very selective. In order to decide on this list, over 250 books were reviewed. The focus is almost entirely on commercially published books. No technical reports or discussion papers are mentioned. Government documents are mentioned only in the Reference Books section.

The essay begins by discussing books that comprehensively discuss sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry. Books examining sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry in various parts of the world (specifically Africa; Asia and Australia; Caribbean, Central American, and South America; Europe; and United States and Canada) are listed in the next sections. Sections noting reference books that include discussions of sustainable agriculture or sustainable forestry, journals and electronic databases that index material in all formats on these issues, and research institutes interested in these issues conclude the essay.

General Works

This section is divided into the following five sections: general interest; economic, political, and sociological aspects; scientific aspects; developing countries; and tropical countries. As the target audience for this essay is science librarians, priority has been placed on books that discuss the scientific aspects of the topic over other aspects.

General Interest

Sustainability in Agricultural and Rural Development edited by Gerard Eugene D'Souza and Tesfa G. Gebremedhin, contains papers that examine the relationship between agricultural sustainability and industrialization, farm size, family, population, gender, land use, community, and public policy. Donald W. Floyd's book, Forest Sustainability, details how the concept of forest sustainability has evolved over time. He states that forest sustainability on a global basis is probably unattainable but is a worthy goal. Issues addressed include certification, green labeling, forest products consumption, population growth, and plantation forestry.

Sustainable Agriculture In Temperate Zones edited by Francis, Flora, and King, contains essays using the following working concept: "Sustainable agriculture is a philosophy based on human goals and on understanding the long-term impact of our activities on the environment and on other species" (p.8). The authors of these essays all support the hypothesis that agriculture can be made productive, environmentally sound, and resource efficient. The topics covered in this collection of essays include pest management; weed management practices; soil fertility practices; crop rotations; pasture management; and the economics of sustainable low-input farming systems. The book edited by Ilbery, Chiotti, and Rickard, Agricultural Restructuring and Sustainability, contains chapters that are based on papers presented at a conference for rural geographers which focused on agricultural restructuring and sustainability. The chapters of this book are arranged around six sub-themes: conceptualizing agricultural restructuring and sustainability; family farming and farming culture; diversification and alternative agriculture; agricultural sustainability and climate change; sustainable agriculture and environmental policy; and sustainability and restructuring the agricultural system.

The Business of Sustainable Forestry by Michael B. Jenkins and Emily T. Smith analyzes the global market shifts, technological innovations, and the environmental strategies that are changing the forest industry. The foundation of the book is a discussion of the efforts being made by 21 companies to meet the challenges of sustainable forestry and still be competitive. The book opens with the presentation of a proposed conceptual framework for sustainable forestry. Other topics discussed include certification, forest plantations, endangered wood products, private land ownership, and supply and demand. Carl F. Jordan's book, Working With Nature, focuses on furthering our understanding of how nature works and how this increased understanding could result is less intrusive and thus more sustainable management of farms, forests, and grasslands. The author does not believe that current mainstream agriculture and forestry should be abandoned. Rather, energy-intensive resource management needs to be replaced gradually with management that is based on an understanding of nature. Specific topics addressed include biological control of pests, crop diseases, genetic engineering, intercropping, nutrient cycling, soil organic matter, and weed control.

David Lindenmayer and Jerry F. Franklin's edited book, Towards Forest Sustainability, is a collection of essays that discuss the process of transitioning to sustainability in forest conservation and management. The editors state that sustainability is an overall direction rather a set endpoint. Patrick J. Madden and Scott G. Chaplowe edited For All Generations. The book is based on the premise that it is both necessary and attainable to make a worldwide transition to sustainable agriculture. Central to this goal is the need for food security. The papers in the first section address the challenges of sustainable agriculture. The second section profiles organizations that have made a contribution to the goals of sustainable agriculture. Appendices include a glossary and a directory of sustainable agricultural organizations.

Our Forests, Our Future, is a report based on hearings held by the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development (WCGSD) on five continents. A plan for how the world's forests and can be used without being abused is presented and the policies that need to be implemented are outlined. The Commission's recommendations include international leadership and action is required; public interests must prevail over private interests; prices and policies must reflect all of the benefits provided by forests; protection of the world's remaining primary forests is required; and community involvement in the decision-making process is essential. Facilitating Sustainable Agriculture edited by Niels G. Rölling and M.A.E. Wagemakers, contains papers that examine the attempts that have been made to make farming more sustainable in conditions of uncertainty. The authors all believe that we can learn our way to a more sustainable agriculture but that changes will need to be made in our epistemology, our technological and organizational practices, our ways of learning, our institutional frameworks and our policies.

Sedjo, Goetzl, and Moffat's book, Sustainability Of Temperate Forests, questions how far the nations in the temperate regions of the world have progressed in improving the sustainability of their forests and how far do they need to go; how are these nations adapting to new international protocols and agreements; and how are the forest industries in these nations adapting to new laws, policies, and regulations. The chapters in this book focus on the history and evolution of sustainable forestry concepts; alternative approaches to defining sustainable forestry; cost implications of sustainability practices; some consequences of forest sustainability issues; and domestic and international policy responses to sustainability in selected temperate countries. The authors found that there is no clear preference in the marketplace to the many approaches to achieving sustainable forest management. Third-party forest management practices certification issues are discussed. S.R.J. Sheppard and H.W. Harshaw edited Forests and Landscapes. The book is divided into six sections: linking ecological sustainability to aesthetics; seeing knowing: approaches to aesthetics and sustainability; perspectives on forest sustainability; theories relating aesthetics and forest ecology; visualization of forested landscapes; and reconciling forest sustainability and aesthetics.

Economic, Political, and Sociological Aspects

Patricia Allen's edited book, Food for the Future, contains papers that discuss the social, economic, and political aspects of food and agricultural sustainability. Questions addressed in this book include who should benefit from sustainable agriculture; what types of economic structures will facilitate the development of a sustainable agriculture; and what do we want to sustain. Specific topics discussed include capitalism, regenerative food regimes, hunger, soil erosion, and vegetarianism. Globalization, Localization, and Sustainable Livelihoods, edited by Reidar Almas and Geoffrey Lawrence, contains papers that are an outgrowth of several presentations made at a conference with the theme of Sustainable Rural Livelihoods. The book's papers are organized around the themes of globalization and food; the restructuring of local agriculture; and resistance in a globalizing world.

Maury E. Bredhahl et al. edited Agriculture, Trade, and the Environment. The book contains papers that were mostly presented at a symposium that focused on the trade-versus-environment debate in regards to agricultural and natural resource issues. Specific topics addressed include GATT, property rights, side agreements, and international environmental indicators. Ian S. Ferguson's book, Sustainable Forest Management, blends the economic and biological aspects pertinent to the sustainable management of publicly-owned native forests. The book is divided into three parts: forest uses; resolving conflict; and issues and conclusions. The author argues that sustainability is about inter-generational equity. He also states that sustainable management requires effective institutions; rational allocation of property rights; effective regional management plans; an enforceable code of forest practice; and public participation.

From the Ground Up by Norberg-Hodge, Goering, and Page explains why the way we currently produce food is destructive and unsustainable. They present some of the farming alternatives that will result in more environmentally healthy ways of producing food. Specific topics discussed include the global industrial food system, biotechnology; weed and pest control; organic farming; soil fertility; and pesticides. Jules N. Pretty's book, Regenerating Agriculture, is about a vision of making agriculture productive while still being environmentally sensitive and preserving rural communities' social fabric. The book begins with a discussion of the problems in defining sustainable agriculture and its goals. Other topics addressed include the conditions needed to achieve a more sustainable agriculture; the impacts of the transition to a more sustainable agriculture; and the need to focus on developing politics that support sustainable agriculture. The author also lists 25 policies that are known to work and support the shift to sustainability in agriculture.

Günther Schulze and Heinrich W. Ursprung's, edited book, International Environmental Economics, contains 10 surveys of specific aspects of international environmental economics. The book's relevant essay is "International Trade and Sustainable Forestry" by Edward B. Barbier (p. 114-147). The author states that countries need to develop policies from the long-term perspective and reduce subsidies and preferential tax breaks, and that the international community can also be of assistance. Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security, edited by Vandana Shiva and Gitanjali Bedi, contains papers that explore how globalization, the environment, and food security are all intertwined. The authors believe that the only way to achieve a just and sustainable means of food security is to develop a decentralized system of food production and distribution. Topics addressed include poverty, food security, U.S. agriculture policy, international trade, biotechnology, and corporate farming. Case studies from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Mexico are presented.

Scientific Aspects

Soil Biological Fertility, edited by L.K. Abbott and Daniel V. Murphy, contains papers that examine soil management practices that help enhance soil fertility as the need for sustainable farming systems has increased. Topics addressed in the book's papers include the role of fauna in soil physical processes; the contributions of rhizobia to soil nitrogen fertility; the relevance of plant root pathogens to soil biological fertility; and managing the soil habitat for enhanced biological fertility. Miguel A. Altieri's book, Agroecology, is based on the premise that the way that modern agriculture is currently practiced is no longer appropriate. The author explains why the discipline of agroecology is important. The book is divided into five sections: the theoretical basis of agricultural ecology; the design of alternative agricultural systems and technologies; alternative production systems; ecological management of insect pests, pathogens, and weeds; and looking ahead. Specific topics addressed include organic farming; crop rotation; tillage; agroforestry; soil ecology; pasture management; and integrated pest management. The author concludes by stating that humans need to have an attitude toward nature that is one of coexistence, not exploitation.

L. Brussaard and Ronald Ferrera-Cerrato's edited book, Soil Ecology In Sustainable Agricultural Systems, consists of papers that explain why the long-term fertility and productivity of soils must be achieved at economically viable levels in order for sustainable agriculture to be a possibility. Specific topics addressed include soil organic matter, roots and sinks, and sources of nutrients and carbon; mycorrhizal interactions; the role of earthworms; and biological management approaches to sustainable agriculture. Buck, Lassoie and Fernandes' edited book, Agroforestry in Sustainable Agricultural Systems, consists of papers that examine the ways in which agroforestry can contribute to furthering sustainable agriculture. Topics addressed include water management, pest management, cropping systems, fuel wood production, and tree tenure.

Derek J. Chadwick and Joan Marsh edited Crop Protection And Sustainable Agriculture. The book opens with papers that explain the concept of sustainable agriculture; the economics of food protection and the whys and hows of crop protection. Other papers deal with pest management; integrated management of plant viral disease; and reducing pesticides use in Asia and Africa. Ecoforestry, edited by Alan Rike Drengson and Duncan MacDonald Taylor, contains papers that advocate ecoforestry as an effective plan for achieving sustainable use of forests. The book has four sections. The first section contains papers that explain ecoforestry's principles and practices. The papers in the second section explain the components of the forest ecosystem and how they can be restored. The papers in the third section discuss past and current examples of ecoforestry. The last section contains papers that discuss the wood and forest certification process.

C.A. Edwards's edited book, Sustainable Agricultural Systems, consists of papers that discuss the different point of view regarding sustainable agriculture that exist and well as education and research needs on this topic. The book is divided into the following six parts: An Overview of Sustainable Agriculture; Components of Sustainable Agricultural Systems; The Importance of Integration in Sustainable Farming Systems; Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the Tropics; Policy Development for the Low-Input Sustainable Agriculture Program; and Improved Ecological Impacts of Sustainable Agriculture. Peter F. Ffolliott, et al.'s book, Dryland Forestry, details how to manage both the biophysical and socioeconomic aspects of environmentally sound, sustainable forest management in dryland environments. Section I addresses issues in regards to the sustainable development of these regions. Section II addresses how to plan and assess forest projects in these regions. Section III addresses technical considerations regarding the management of forest plantations and nursery operations. Topics mentioned in Section IV include fuel wood production, agroforestry, soil erosion, and rehabilitation of saline environments. Section V addresses how to involve rural people, forest extension programs, and how to evaluate projects.

Steven E. Franklin's book, Remote Sensing for Sustainable Forest Management, explores how to apply remote solutions to efforts to achieve sustainable forest management objects. The author begins with a discussion of the many definitions of sustainable forest management and the criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management that have been developed. Other topics addressed include data acquisition issues relevant to aerial remote sensing efforts; image calibration and processing; forest modeling and GIS; forest classification schemes; forest structure estimation; and forest change detection. Takao Fujimori's book, Ecological and Silvicultural Strategies for Sustainable Forest Management, examines what are the appropriate ecological and silvicultural strategies that silviculturalists must adopt in order to achieve sustainable forest ecosystem management. The book focuses primarily on forests in temperate and boreal zones. The book is divided into four parts. The first part discusses the basics of forest ecology. Part II reviews specific silvicultural techniques such as regeneration. Part III reviews specific silvicultural methods such as clearcutting and evaluates them according to their ability to meet new social demands. Part IV discusses what silvicultural strategies need to be employed in order to achieve sustainable forest management.

Sustainable Forest Management, edited by Klaus Gadow and Timo Pukkala, begins by stating that while the concept of sustainable forest management is likely to remain imprecise, we can work toward avoiding forest practices that are clearly unsustainable. The papers in this book attempt to present state-of-the art research results, visions, and perceptions as well as specific methods for ensuring sustainable forest ecosystem management. The book's first three papers concentrate on ecosystem perspectives. The next three papers concentrate on social and political perspectives. The emphasis of the last three papers is on sustainable forest management and timber supply. Stephen R. Gliessman's edited book, Agroecosystem Sustainability, emphasizes sustainability as a whole-system, interdisciplinary concept. It is the integration of a recognizable social system and its eco-system setting and is a dynamic, continually evolving ecosystem. Topics covered in this book include improving agroecosystems; sustainability using organic mulch; manipulating plant biodiversity to enhance biological control of insect pests; assessing agricultural sustainability using the six-pillar model; and coevolutionary agroecology.

Jerry L. Hatfield and Douglas L. Karlen's edited book, Sustainable Agriculture Systems, is a compilation of papers on the components that make up sustainable agriculture. Economic and sociological aspects are included in addition to the scientific ones. Specific topics include pest management, soil management, soil fertility, and water. Seppo Kellomäki's edited book, Forest Resources and Sustainable Management, outlines the principles and methods of sustainable forestry from a timber production perspective. The emphasis is on the forests of the boreal and temperate zones particularly in Nordic countries. Topics addressed include accumulation of organic matter, forest tree breeding, cellulose, regeneration, soil organic matter, and timber harvesting.

Agriculture, Fertilizers, and the Environment by Lægreid, Bøckman, and Kaarstad, reviews the environmental and sustainability issues relating to fertilizer use. The book is divided into three parts. Part I discusses the challenge of producing enough food and gives an overview of the constraints on and the opportunities for sustainable food production. Part II discusses the principles of soil productivity and its maintenance. Part III outlines and summarizes the challenges and opportunities for increasing cereal production and agricultural sustainability. R. Lal's edited book, Soil Quality and Agricultural Sustainability, is based primarily on the papers presented at a 1996 workshop. The volume is divided into six sections: basic concepts and global issues; nutrient and water inputs for soil quality management; soil quality management in Asia; soil quality management in Africa; soil quality management in tropical America; and future priorities. The emphasis of these papers is on the need to establish the links between soil quality, agricultural sustainability, and environmental quality. Specific topics addressed include crop rotation, soil degradation, soil erosion, soil fertility, tillage, irrigated agriculture, and agroforestry.

The book edited by Léon-Etienne Parent and Piotr Ilnicki, Organic Soils and Peat Materials for Sustainable Agriculture, consists of papers that define the organic soil quality attributes that will result in wiser soil management in peatlands. Topics addressed in the book include soil acidity determination methods for organic soils and peat materials; nitrogen and phosphorus balance indicators in organic soils; fate of pesticides in organic soils; and agricultural production systems for organic soil conservation. Rajendra Prasad and James F. Power's book, Soil Fertility Management for Sustainable Agriculture, examines soil fertility issues in both temperate and tropical regions as they believe soil fertility is central to the development of sustainable food production systems. The authors discuss the nutrient transformations that occur in the soil. Topics covered in this book include soil colloids, soil organic matter, soil acidity, soil salinity, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, organic manures, and fertilizer use.

Rainson, Brown, and Flinn's edited book, Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management, consists of papers that address the potential benefits of the application of Criteria and Indicators (C&I) in forests and the steps that need to be followed in the application of C&I in forests. Criteria and Indicators are relatively new tools that have been developed to help better define sustainable forest management. Specific topics addressed include biodiversity, erosion, stream flow (runoff), spatial patterns, models and modeling, the Montreal Process, the Helsinki Process, and the global carbon cycle. R.M. Rees, et al. edited the book, Sustainable Management of Soil Organic Matter. It contains papers that are based on presentations given at an international conference. Topics covered in these papers include the importance of soil organic matter to sustainability; modeling soil organic matter dynamics; soil organic matter management; the role of soil organic matter and manures in sustainable nutrient cycling; and the implications of soil biodiversity for sustainable organic matter management.

Christopher Upton and Stephen Bass' book, The Forest Certification Handbook, attempts to explain how a forest certification program should be run. They also discuss what certification can and can not do. The issues discussed include policy requirements at national and international levels, the role of standards, sustainable forest management's goals, and what certification achieves. The authors also discuss how certification works in practice and the views various groups have on certification. Gary F. Zimmer's book, The Biological Farmer, serves as a training manual for people wishing to learn more biological farming. It explains the whys and hows of biological farming. Biological farming is a term the author coined to designate a method of farming by which input costs can be reduced and profits can be increased while at the same time improving your soil conditions and livestock health. Topics covered in this book include soil testing, soil pH, fertilizers, tillage, organic agriculture, pests, weed control, and livestock nutrition.

Developing Countries

William Ascher's book, Communities and Sustainable Forestry in Developing Countries, examines the theoretical and practical issues regarding the establishment of governance systems by communities so that the goals of sustainable production can be achieved. Most forest users have lacked clear property rights to forest lands as they are government property. However, the author states that both small-scale and large-scale forms of organization are essential if forests are to be sustainably maintained. After the Green Revolution by Gordon R. Conway and Edward B. Barbier explains what the authors mean by the term "sustainable" agriculture in the post-Green Revolution era. They examine the priorities and conditions for improving agricultural sustainability in developing countries by focusing on the constraints of trade and the global economic order at the international level and at the local level by focusing on the needs of rural households. What the authors mean by using the concept of sustainability as an indicator of agricultural performance is also explained.

Robert L. Paarlberg's book, Countrysides at Risk, urges policymakers to establish geographically differentiated policies that address the urgent need to increase food production while at the same time protecting the environment. The book's chapters are based on the following geographic regions: Asia, Africa, and Latin America. There is also a chapter on the role of external actors. The author concludes by stating that as a result of excessive concentrations of power there is a tendency for agricultural resources to be abused. Matti Palo and Gerardo Mery's book, Sustainable Forestry Challenges for Developing Countries, is a collection of essays that address the challenges facing those who wish to strive for sustainable forest management in developing countries. Sustainability is examined from the perspective of being an opposite phenomenon to deforestation. The book is divided into four sections: global prospects; tropical Asia; Latin America; and tropical Africa. Issues addressed include biodiversity; forest degradation; environmental degradation; erosion; forest plantations; forest products; land tenure; modeling efforts and population growth.

Vernon W. Ruttan's book, Health and Sustainable Agricultural Development, contains essays that examine the role of health in sustainable agricultural development into the early decade of the twenty-first century. They are grouped into four themes: health policy and health systems; disease in the tropics; nutrition, environment and health; and disease, health and development. Schmidt, Berry, and Gordan's edited book, Forests to Fight Poverty, examines the biological, social, and economic causes of tropical deforestation and offers solutions that are appropriate to the biology and culture of the regions involved. The need to develop integrated strategies based on country-by-country discussions that focus on people is discussed. Other topics discussed include the relationship between forests and poverty; the successes and failures of agroforestry; land ownership, and property rights.

Stephen A. Vosti and Thomas Reardon's book, Sustainability, Growth, and Poverty Alleviation, contains papers whose overall theme is the link between sustainability, growth, and the alleviation of poverty. How policies, technologies, institutions, population growth, and climate change condition these links is also examined. Several papers deal with sustainable agriculture. Issues addressed by these papers include policy trade-offs, in both the short and long-term, between agricultural growth and environmental degradation; and the ability of institutions to develop sustainable agriculture technology.


Carol J. Pierce Colfer and Yvonne Byron's edited book, People Managing Forests, contains papers that address the interrelated problems of needing to achieve both sustainable forest management and the well being of forest-dwelling people. The authors used the globally accepted criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management to guide their research. The book is divided into five sections: gender and diversity in forest management; a conservation ethic in forest management; security of intergenerational access to resources; rights and responsibilities to manage cooperatively and equitably; and geographical and temporal comparisons. S.R. Harrison and J.L. Herbohn's edited book, Sustainable Farm Forestry in the Tropics, contains papers that discuss how small-scale farms in the tropics might be sustainably managed. The book is divided into four sections: setting the scene; timber benefits and market considerations; non-wood benefits; and developing policies to encourage small-scale forestry in the tropics. Specific topics addressed include landholder attitudes, community forestry, taxation, and reforestation.

Rattan Lal's book, Sustainable Management of Soil Resources in the Humid Tropics, presents information regarding soil and crop management systems that will promote sustained use of soil and water resources in the humid tropics. Most of the examples cited by the author are based on research conducted in West Africa. The author has included information on runoff management and erosion control, nutrient management, soil organic matter maintenance, tillage, forest conversion, research priorities. The National Research Council (U.S.) Committee on Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment in the Humid Tropics' book, Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment in the Humid Tropics, attempts to provide solutions to tropical deforestation by outlining a variety of approaches to tropical land use and conservation. The Committee believes that sustainable agriculture in each country will consist of many diverse production systems. The sustainable land use options discussed include: intensive cropping systems; shifting cultivation systems; agropastoral systems; cattle ranching; agroforestry systems; mixed tree systems; perennial tree crop plantations; plantation forestry systems; regenerating and secondary forests; natural forest management systems; modified forests; and forest reserves.

Todor Panaiotov and Peter S. Ashton's book, Not By Timber Alone, has three objectives: to identify and evaluate the non-timber products and services obtained from tropical forests; to determine the extent to which full accounting and enhancement of these products and services would help ensure the sustainability to tropical forests; and to identify gaps in knowledge and make recommendations regarding future research directions. Specific issues addressed include the trade in tropical timbers; natural forest management; multi-use management; plantation forestry; conservation of genetic resources; government policies; and the international cooperation that is needed. Sustainable Harvest and Marketing of Rain Forest Products, edited by Mark J. Plotkin and Lisa Famolare, contains papers that present alternatives to the deforestation taking place in the world's rainforests that are feasible and financially attractive. Topics addressed in these papers include the potential of nontimber forest products; palms and their potential; efforts to develop plants as medicine; and efforts to bring nonmedicinal products to the international marketplace.

Duncan Poore's book, Changing Landscapes, is a history of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). The author also reviews the evolution of policies for the sustainable use of tropical forests. He concludes by stating that this organization has been effective but that perhaps its name should be changed to International Tropical Forest Organization and that sustainable forest management will only succeed when there are people in forest policy making positions that can make decisions based on sound science and can make sensitive judgments based on accurate observations. the book edited by John K. Syers and D.L. Rimmer, Soil Science and Sustainable Land Management in the Tropics, consists of papers presented at a conference. The book's opening chapter discusses soil improvement versus soil degradation, productivity versus sustainability, and the difference of opinions regarding the definitions of sustainability. Some of the issues addressed by the book's other chapters include: soil erosion, agroforestry, the role of soil organisms, soil organic matter management, and nitrogen fixation.


Ahmad, Muhammad, and Mlay's edited book, Environment and Sustainable Development in Eastern and Southern Africa, begins with four chapters that address the surrounding the interrelationship of environment and development at the macro-level. The remaining eleven chapters are specific national and local case studies. Specific topics addressed include population dynamics, poverty alleviation, drought, soil erosion, agricultural extension policy, and the impact of agricultural technology. Alan B. Dixon's book, Indigenous Management Of Wetlands, contends that the world's wetlands need to be sustainably managed if they are to continue to be beneficial to humankind. They play a crucial role in sustaining rural livelihoods in many developing countries. The author's main aim was to study the extent to which the hydrological management of wetlands for agricultural development can be sustainable in this region. The author also examined the extent of the indigenous peoples of the region knowledge regarding sustainable wetland management.

Edwin A. Gyasi and Juha I. Uitto edited the book, Environment, Biodiversity and Agricultural Change in West Africa, which focuses on Ghana. The book's opening chapters address criteria for designing sustainable farming systems in tropical Africa and indigenous African farming systems. Seven chapters present the results of a pilot study conducted by the United Nations University and the University of Ghana on the pressure of the environment and change in biodiversity and agriculture in Ghana's forest-savanna ecotome. The book's closing chapter deals with the regeneration of degraded land in Upper Manya Krobo and the role of women. Michael Mortimore's book, Roots in the African Dust, states that most of the world has come to view the African drylands in terms of drought, poverty, degradation and famine that is driven by population growth and inappropriate land use. Using case studies mostly from northern Nigeria and Kenya, the author suggests a more optimistic model of sustainable land use.

Martin Whiteside's book, Living Farms, studies various ways by which agriculture in Southern Africa might both become more sustainable and better able to help eradicate poverty. He concludes that in order for smallholder farming to achieve sustainability it will need to go through a transition; new partnerships with government, the private sector and non-governmental organizations will need to be developed; and communities need to be empowered to take a more effective role in sustainable natural resource management.

Asia and Australia

Fadzillah M. Cooke's book, The Challenge of Sustainable Forests, studies the politics behind the efforts to conserve Malaysia's forest resources and the reasons why this become such a "runaway issue." The sustainable forest management debate is examined from a social science perspective. The effects of patronage and the resistance to changes in global understandings of sustainable forest management are also studied. R.J. Hobbs and D.A. Sanders' edited book, Reintegrating Fragmented Landscapes, focuses on the effects of clearing the central wheat belt of Western Australia for agriculture. The papers on landscape disintegration discuss the changes that have take place in the biota, in soil properties, and in the hydrologic balance. The papers on land reintegration discuss integrating ecological and economic considerations, long-term costs and benefits of alternative farm plans, and conservation management in fragmented systems.

Edvard Hviding and Tim Bayliss-Smith's book, Islands of Rainforest, analyzes the use of the forest of Marovo Lagoon in New Geogia, Solomon Islands over time. Their perspective is historical and local rather than futuristic and global. The book's relevant chapter (p. 263-290) is "Small is Beautiful? Steps Towards Sustainable Forestry." In this chapter the authors examine whether or not small-scale locally owned sawmills are a way to achieve sustainable forest practices. They conclude that this project is well intentioned and admirable, but is unsustainable without Dutch money and expertise, and basically inappropriate in the present-day conditions of the Solomon Islands. M. Inoue and Hiroji Isozaki edited People and Forest, which consists of papers that provide an overview of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies' (IGES) Forest Conservation Project's research activities in its first three-year phase. This first phase concentrated, in part, on identifying principles and measures for sustainable forest management, based on experiences in the Asia-Pacific region. The book is divided into three parts: framework for sustainable forest management; policy and legislation in terms of local participation; and local realities in forest use and management. The authors repeatedly stress the importance of the participation of local people.

Irina G. Malkina-Pykh and Y.A. Pykh's book, Sustainable Food and Agriculture, states that sustainable agriculture is gaining increasing support and acceptance within mainstream agriculture. The opening chapter provides and an overview of food and agriculture through history and explains what constitutes sustainable agriculture. Other chapters address food security, biotechnology, food security, biodiversity, climate change, organic agriculture, pesticides, trade policies, and agricultural economics. Khaosa Ñat Mingsan and Benjavan Rerkasem's book, The Growth and Sustainability of Agriculture in Asia, is an examination of the growth trends in the agricultural sector of rural Asia. The authors also list policy and investment priorities that must be undertaken in order to promote sustainable agriculture. They present three recommendations for working toward sustainable agriculture. The importance of working toward the alleviation of poverty and human resource development is also stressed.

Richard Sanders' book, Prospects For Sustainable Development In The Chinese Countryside, analyzes the Chinese Ecological Agriculture (CEA) policy. Chinese authorities have encouraged the adoption of CEA as a way to address the environmental problems of Chinese agriculture. The author examines whether the Chinese Ecological Agriculture policy promises a form of sustainable rural development. The author concludes that the Chinese Ecological Agriculture holds the prospect for a more sustainable future for the rural economy. One of the most serious handicaps to its extension is the spread of small-scale, privatized family farms. More collective forms of land management need to be encouraged.

Caribbean, Mexico, and Central and South America

Jill L. Caviglia's book, Sustainable Agriculture in Brazil, examines the relationship between land-use choices that have been made by small-scale farmers and the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Sustainable agriculture practices were introduced in this region about ten years ago. However, only a few farmers have adopted them. The author states that slash-and-burn agriculture is a major cause of deforestation in this region and that the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices could dramatically reduce the rate of deforestation. Sustainable Forest Management and Global Climate Change, edited by M.H.I. Dore and Rubén Guevara focuses on the recognition by the international community as a precautionary principle that forests have functions other than serving the world's timber needs. It is divided into three sections. The first section focuses on the biophysical aspects of forest management. The second section focuses on the economic value of forests with regards to their value as a carbon sink. The third section consists of forest policy case studies from Canada, Costa Rica, and Brazil.

Fernando Funes, et al.'s edited book, Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance, describes the food crisis was brought on in Cuba as the result of the collapse of trade relations with the former Socialist bloc and the tightening of the U.S. trade embargo. Cubans were unable to import food or the chemicals and machines needed to grow food by conventional agriculture. In order to survive, they turned to sustainable agriculture, organic farming, urban gardens, smaller farms, animal traction, and biological pest control. Roberto J. González's book, Zapotec Science, argues that way in which the Zapotec farmers on the northern Sierra of Oaxaca, Mexico practice sustainable agriculture constitutes a valid science even though it would be considered erroneous by the standards of most agronomists and botanists in the United States and Europe.

J.P. Groot and Ruerd Ruben's edited book, Sustainable Agriculture in Central America, consists of papers that review the possibilities of achieving sustainable agriculture in this region from the perspective of state policy and local action. The trade-offs between macro-economic policies and environmental objectives are analyzed, and the socioeconomic conditions pertinent for each eco-region are noted. Specific topics addressed include deforestation, land rights, food security, production systems, fertilizers, land titling, credit, and migration. Sabine Müller's book, Evaluating the Sustainability of Agriculture, analyzes the possibility of achieving the values of sustainable agriculture at the plot-, farm-, and watershed-levels at a river watershed in Costa Rica. Economic, social, and environmental indicators are used at the farm level. The author concludes that soil quality was degrading; fertilizer input was high; pesticide application was high; large farms tended to be less inefficient than the small ones; and that agriculture as practiced in the research area can be considered deficient with respect to sustainability.

Richard B. Primack, et al., edited Timber, Tourists, and Temples. The book is an outgrowth of the efforts of many people who are working on finding economic alternatives to the destruction of the Maya Forest. The book has two relevant papers. One is "Sustaining Harvests of Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla King) from Mexico's Yucatátan Forests: Past, Present, and Future (p. 61-80) by Laura K. Snook and "Toward Sustainable Forestry in Belize" (p. 225-239) by Nicholas V.L. Krokaw, et al. Snook begins by providing a historical review of the exploitation of this resource and then offers some suggestions on how to sustainably manage this resource today and into the future. Krokaw, et al. discuss the efforts that are underway in Belize to help that country sustainably manage its forests. They also discuss the need to replace selective logging with new silvicultural methods. Douglas Dewitt Southgate's book, Tropical Forest Conservation, begins with a survey of the extent and consequences of deforestation. The book includes an economic assessment of forest conservation strategies predicated on the fostering of sustainable economic activities. Specific topics addressed include extractive reserves, ecotourism, agroforestry, and plant-derived medicines.

Hildo M. Souza Filho's book, The Adoption of Sustainable Agricultural Technologies, examines the economic, social and environmental aspects of the efforts to adopt sustainable agricultural technologies in this region of Brazil. The author's conclusions include the probability of farmers adopting sustainable technology increased if they were more integrated with farmers' organizations, had contact with non-governmental organizations, were aware of the negative effect of chemicals on health and the environment, could rely on family labor, and their farms were located in areas of better soil conditions.


The book by Max Krott et al., Policies for Sustainable Forestry in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, contains papers that attempt to design strategies that strive for achieving the goals of sustainability and a stable market economy of the forest sector. The forests in these countries are still managed by state forest institutions. The sustainable development of these forests therefore depends on the effectiveness of these institutions. Jules N. Pretty's book, The Living Land, is intended to serve as a complement to Regenerating Agriculture, one of the author's earlier books. Chapters 2 and 3 of this later book address the environmental impact of more current agricultural practices in Europe and the need to move toward more sustainable agricultural practices. Specific issues addressed include pesticides, vanishing wildlife, threatened habitats, soil erosion, the Common Agricultural Policy, misconceptions about sustainable agriculture, organic farming and integrated farming systems. Three steps to encourage the transition to sustainable agriculture are given.

Harald Sverdrup and Ingrid Stiernquist's edited book, Developing Principles and Models for Sustainable Forestry in Sweden, presents some of the research carried out as part of the Sustainable Forestry in Southern Sweden (SUFOR) program. Some of the conclusions reached include: standard yield is not equal to the sustainable yield, but rather a systematic overestimate; whole tree harvest without nutrient replacement is very harmful; biodiversity can be protected; sustainable forestry can be economically viable; and the forest management plan must be flexible. The book's opening chapters provide background information of Swedish forests, define sustainability, and discuss the principles of sustainable forest management. Other topics addressed include modeling; biogeochemical processes; air pollution; biodiversity; socioeconomic costs; and the effects of wildlife on forestry and nutrient sustainability. Wilson, and Maliszewaks-Kordybach's, edited book, Soil Quality, Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Security in Central and Eastern Europe, contains papers that evaluate the current and future impact of pollution and changing management practices upon the quality and sustainable use of soils for productive agriculture in Central and Eastern countries. One of the conclusions reached is that the protection, maintenance and enhancement of soil quality and the development of sustainable agriculture in the Central and Eastern European countries is unlikely to be promoted in the context of liberal agricultural policy and market incentives alone. Specific topics addressed include soil contamination, tillage, organic farming, animal waste, fertilizers, sewage sludge, soil erosion, and soil remediation.

United States and Canada

Gregory H. Aplet et al's edited book, Defining Sustainable Forestry, contains papers that examine the link between biodiversity and an ecosystem approach to forest management. The book is divided into three sections. The first section explores the objectives of sustainable forestry. The second section consists of papers that examine a regional approach to designing sustainable ecological systems. The papers in the third section examine the social and policy issues that need to be taken into consideration when defining sustainable forestry. Randal S. Beeman and James A. Pritchard's book, A Green and Permanent Land, presents a history of the permanent and sustainable agricultural movements in the United States. Topics discussed include the use of agricultural chemicals, industrial agriculture, organic agriculture, soil erosion, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and legislation such as the Food Security Act.

Future Harvest by Jim Bender details what is needed to develop viable, commercial pesticide-free farms. This discussion is based on the author's experience on a medium-sized farm in southeastern Nebraska. Topics addressed include crop diversification, insect control, farm machinery, weed management, livestock, and soil conservation. Bird, Bultena, and Gardner's edited book, Planting the Future, constitutes the final report of a multi-state cooperative research effort sponsored by the Northwest Area foundation of St. Paul, Minnesota. This book addresses the following two questions: which approaches to farming hold the most promise for protecting the environment while maintaining opportunities for farmers and rural communities and what public action is needed to encourage farmers to use more sustainable farming practices. Various chapters focus on defining sustainable agriculture, discuss the promise of sustainable agriculture, the impact of sustainable farming on the structure of American agriculture, community trade patterns of conventional and sustainable farmers, and the differences between conventional and sustainable farmers with regards to stress and job satisfaction.

Benjamin William Cashore et al.'s book, In Search of Sustainability, examines the reasons behind the activism regarding efforts to achieve sustainable use of the forests of British Columbia. They describe and explain the evolution of forest policy during the 1990s. Topics addressed include aboriginal rights, allowable annual timber cuts, the Forest Practices Code, timber pricing, certification, tenure reform, and jobs. They state that the policy reforms of the 1990s failed to create any-long term stability and that British Columbia's forest policy appears to be potentially unsustainable. Thomas Davis' book, Sustaining the Forest, the People, and the Spirit, discusses the success the Menominee Indians of Wisconsin have had in sustainably managing the forests within their 235,000 reservation near Green Bay. Their success lies in the fact that they believe the forest must be preserved forever and that they accept the economic sacrifices this long-term viewpoint has imposed on the tribe. The author discusses how their concept of sustainability arises from their beliefs of what constitutes spiritual, economic, cultural, and political well-being.

Bryan C. Foster wrote Wild Logging to help landowners of private non-industrial forests become better stewards of their forests. He profiles a number of landowners who tell the innovative ways in which they have learned to manage their forests. Appendices include a list of relevant organizations, a simple timber harvest contract, and information on preparing a conservation easement. Neva Hassanein's book, Changing the Way America Farms, examines the way in which knowledge is created and exchanged in farmer networks that have been formed to further the development of sustainable agricultural practices. The two networks specifically studied are the Ocooch Grazers Network and the Wisconsin Women's Sustainable Farming Network. The author states that these networks are successful, as they constitute a "bottom-up" approach to problem solving.

The Next Green Revolution by James E. Horne and Maura McDermott, begins with an indictment against industrial agriculture. Industrial agriculture has hooked farmers on fertilizers and pesticides; endangered soil and water resources; bankrupted farmers; and ignored the well-being of rural communities. The authors provide an overview of sustainable agriculture's goals and explain why it is needed. An eight-step plan for achieving sustainable agriculture is given. Mitch Lansky's book, Beyond the Beauty Strips, states that "forest policy should be ecologically sound, socially responsible, economically viable and sustainable" and argues against the present industrial-style forest management (p. 1). The book is based primarily on the situation in Maine. The author argues that our technological, economic, and political systems need to be adjusted to fit the needs of forests and communities. Specific topics addressed include herbicides; air pollution; endangered species; taxation, clearcutting, whole tree harvesting, and regulations.

Gregory McIsaac and William R. Edwards' edited book, Sustainable Agriculture in the American Midwest, discusses the ecological, social, and technical aspects related agricultural sustainability in the Midwest. Specific topics addressed are indigenous agricultural knowledge; sustainable cropping systems; pest management, soil degradation, the effects of land use on wildlife, and the use of agricultural crops for fuel. In Reinventing the Forest Industry, Jean Mater outlines the way in which the forestry industry must change in order to regain the public trust so that it can once again become the steward of the nation's forests. The author provides ten principles that need to be followed in order for the forest industry to be reinvented. The issue of certification is also discussed.

National Research Council (U.S.) Committee on the Role of Alternative Farming Methods in Modern Production Agriculture's book, Alternative Agriculture, has become a landmark work. The committee examined the reasons why alternative agricultural farming methods, even though they can result in lower operating costs and reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides, have not been adopted. The committee concludes that federal research and commodity programs must be restructured. Also addressed in the book is how U.S. agriculture has evolved since World War II, the economic and environmental consequences of agricultural practices and federal government policies, the basic science behind the farming practices used in various alternative agricultural methods; and the economic potential of alternative systems. Richard K. Olson's edited book, Integrating Sustainable Agriculture, Ecology, And Environmental Policy, contains papers that address how ecology should and could address agricultural sustainability. These authors agree that a new, transdisciplinary "agrolandscape ecology" needs to be developed where teams including farmers, agricultural scientists, and legislators work together to develop and manage sustainable agriculture. Specific issues addressed include federal policies as incentives or disincentives; the need to plan for uncertainty; using knowledge of soil nutrient cycling processes to design sustainable agriculture; EPA program and research activities focusing on the reduction of agricultural impacts on the environment; and the need for pre-college education regarding sustainable agriculture.

In Taking Stands, Maureen Gail Reed explores the lives and perspectives of the women who resisted the new environmental regulations affecting the logging of the temperate rainforests of British Columbia, Canada. The question is, are women who resist environmental regulations part of the feminist struggle for environmental sustainability and social justice or are they part of the problem of solving them. Shindler, Beckley, and Finley's edited book, Two Paths Toward Sustainable Forests, is about the changing forest values in North America and the challenges faced in developing strategies that incorporate these evolving values into management, practice, and policy. Both Canada and the United States have similar conflicts over how to manage their public forests and both are working towards the goal of sustainable forest management. The book examines the social and economic aspects of sustainable forestry. Specific issues discussed include certification, trade liberalization, biotechnology, carbon sequestration, grass-roots ecosystem management, and public involvement.

Judith D. Soule and Jon K. Piper's book, Farming in Nature's Image, presents the case for bringing the disciplines of ecology and agriculture together so that a less wasteful way to farm can be developed. The book's chapters address the ecological crises of modern agriculture and the roots of these crises, provide an ecological perspective on sustainability, make the case for ecological agriculture, assess the feasibility of a prairie-like agriculture, and explore the social aspects of a change to a different form a agricultural production. Thompson, Matthews, and van Ravenswaay's book, Ethics, Public Policy, and Agriculture, serves as an introduction to ethics as applied to public policy problems in agriculture. In the relevant chapter, "Sustainability," the impetus for sustainable agriculture is discussed.

Chris Tollefson's edited book, The Wealth of Forests, examines the potential and limits of market and other policy instruments as means of achieving sustainability. It focuses on the extent to which existing and emerging policy alternatives are bringing us closer to the elusive goal of sustainable forestry. The papers in this book offer various perspectives on sustainable forestry; lessons learned in British Columbia in attempting to develop a sustainable forestry policy; and legal barriers to sustainable forestry. Ronald C. Wimberley et al.'s edited book, The Social Risks Of Agriculture, details the evolution of American public opinion on farming, food, the environment, and other agriculturally related issues. These issues include public support for a green U.S. agriculture machine; public perceptions of pesticides and chemicals in food; consumer attitudes about food safety; and farm animal welfare.

Reference Books

This section is divided into three sections: bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference books.


There is not a good, current bibliography on sustainable forestry. In addition to Mary V. Gold's pamphlet, Sustainable Agriculture: Definitions and Terms, which is discussed below in the dictionaries section, three are three useful recently published bibliographies on sustainable agriculture. Future Horizons: Recent Literature in Sustainable Agriculture, edited by Gabriel Hegyes, and Charles A. Francis, is a comprehensive, but not exhaustive, bibliography of books and government publications on this topic. The books have been arranged into nine chapters. Each chapter begins with a signed two page introductory essay.

Gary Goreham, David L. Watt, and Roy M. Jacobsen's, The Socioeconomics of Sustainable Agriculture, is a bibliography of over 1,000 sources on the socioeconomic impacts of sustainable agriculture on farms, farm families, communities, and the national agricultural production systems. The bibliography is arranged in the following three sections: books and book chapters; journal and periodical articles; and federal and state government publications, university research reports, and miscellaneous publications. Sustainable Agriculture in Print: Current Books, from the U.S. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center was revised in 1997 and then updated in 2003. The 1997 edition includes all the entries from the 1992 to 1996 bibliographies in addition to having new entries. Neither the 1997 edition nor 2003 update are exhaustive. Each entry in both volumes is annotated. The entries in each are arranged alphabetically by author.


The most relevant dictionary is Mary V. Gold's pamphlet, Sustainable Agriculture: Definitions and Terms, which includes definitions of terms commonly associated with sustainable agriculture. The author discusses what practices constitute sustainable agriculture and provides a list of recommended readings arranged by author.

Three dictionaries that are broader in scope, but still highly relevant, are discussed in the following paragraphs.

The Dictionary of Forestry, edited by John A. Helms, contains 4,500 terms related to the forest science, management and conservation disciplines. These include terms related to agroforestry, forest ecology, forest economics, forest meteorology, forest soils, remote sensing, urban and community forestry, watershed management, and wildlife and fish ecology.

Kathryn L. Lipton's, Dictionary of Agriculture, contains the definitions to terms associated with agriculture. It contains terms related to farming, food and agricultural policy, trade, and conservation. Appendices include acronyms, a subject index to the definitions, and commonly used weights and measurements. Soil and Environmental Science Dictionary, edited by E.G. Gregorich, et al., contains the definitions of over 4,000 terms from a wide variety of disciplines related to soil science. These include agronomy, botany, geography, forestry, hydrology, biochemistry, and remote sensing. Equivalent French terms follow each definition. There are several appendices that include soil properties and soil classifications.


Encyclopedia Of Agricultural Science, edited Charles J. Arntzen, and Ellen M. Ritter, is meant to serve as a compendium of current knowledge about the full range of subjects associated with agriculture. The articles average ten pages in length and are intended to serve a broad-ranged audience. The relevant article is entitled "Sustainable Agriculture" (vol. 4, p. 239-247) by Miguel A. Altieri. The author discusses in this article the requirements of a sustainable agricultural system, the need to restore biodiversity in agroecosytems, biodiversity and pest management; and sustainable agricultural development's goals. A glossary and a short bibliography are included.

Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues, edited by Craig W. Allin, is a three-volume work containing 475 alphabetically arranged signed articles that vary in length. Most of the articles are overviews of issues, concepts, and terms relevant to the study of environmental matters. Each article includes a short list of suggested readings. Appendices include a timeline; a directory of environmental organizations; a directory of U.S. National Parks; a glossary; and a bibliography. The relevant articles are "Sustainable Agriculture" by Toby Stewart and Dion Stewart (v. 3, p. 713-716) and "Sustainable Forestry" by Gordon Neal Diem (v. 3, p. 718-720). The sustainable agriculture article is divided into the following sections: problems caused by agriculture; water and soil conservation; livestock and animal manure; cover crops; crop rotation and monoculture; and integrated pest management. The sustainable forestry article discusses the goals of the forest management technique and why it is viewed as an alternative to clearcutting and monoculture plantation forestry.

Magill's Encyclopedia of Science: Plant Life, edited by Bryan D. Ness, contains 379 alphabetically arranged essays. Each is signed and has a short bibliography. Appendices include a glossary, bibliography, timeline, and a list of web sites. "Sustainable Agriculture," (v. 3, p. 993-996) is by Toby R. Stewart and Dion Stewart. This essay begins with a definition of the term and then discusses the reasons why people are turning to this method of agriculture. The essay closes with a discussion of the things that sustainable agriculture emphasizes. "Sustainable Forestry" (v. 4, p. 997-999) is by Gordon Neal Diem. This essay begins with a definition of the term and then goes on to provide a little history of U.S. forest management. Sustainable forestry is discussed as an alternative to clearcutting and monoculture plantation forestry. The essay closes with a discussion of the goals of sustainable forestry.

Other Reference Works

Erik Millstone and Tim Land's atlas, The Penguin Atlas of Food, provides in chart, graph, and map form details about the significant features of the modern food system. The atlas is divided into five parts: contemporary challenges; farming; trade; processing, retailing, and consumption; and world tables. Restoration Forestry, edited by Michael Piloarski, is a useful handbook. The editor begins with a definition of restoration forestry and states that others equate it with sustainable forestry. Topics addressed in the book's essays include certification programs, forest ecology, and Native Americans and forests. Other essays address restoration forestry in the Pacific Northwest, in North America's eastern forests, British Columbia, in Africa, in South and Central America, in East Asia and the Pacific, in boreal forests, and in tropical forests.

Source Book of Sustainable Agriculture for Educators, Producers and Other Agricultural Professionals, edited by Valerie Berton, contains 559 entries organized alphabetically by state, U.S. territory and foreign country. Appendices include a list of sustainable agriculture web sites and university centers and programs relating to sustainable agriculture. The third edition of Sustainable Agricultural Network's Sustainable Agriculture: Directory of Expertise, lists 200 organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories; 169 farmers and ranchers; 247 agriculture researchers; 169 cooperative Extension Service personnel; 72 agribusiness personnel; and 63 farm consultants. It is arranged alphabetically by state with individuals first and organizations next. Each entry includes contact information, the area of expertise, a description of their sustainable agriculture work, and the information resources available from that organization or person.

Journals and Electronic Databases


There are two journa Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, a quarterly journal published by the Food Products Press. According to the journal's home page, this journal focuses "on new and unique systems in which resource usage and environmental protection are kept in balance with the needs of productivity, profits, and incentives that are necessary for the agricultural marketplace." The other is Journal of Sustainable Forestry, a quarterly journal published by the Food Products Press. According to the Journal's {home page}, the journal "provides a linkage of silviculture and the underlying biology: tree physiology, morphology, and genetics. As such, it elucidates the scientific principles and techniques of controlling, protecting, and restoring the regeneration, composition, and growth of natural forest vegetation as well as plantations, agroforestry, and silvo-pastoral systems."

Two other highly relevant journals are Agroforestry Systems and Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. Agroforestry Systems is published nine times a year by Kluwer Journals and contains articles on both the biophysical and socioeconomic aspects of agroforestry. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, is the new title of American Journal of Alternative Agriculture. CABI Publishing took over publishing it in 2002. According to the journal's {home page}, it "seeks to publish good science that underpins the diverse ideas and approaches to agricultural and food production that are economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable."

A comprehensive list of newsletters, journals, and magazines can be found in the publication, Sustainable Agriculture in Print: Current Periodicals. Each entry contains a brief description of the publication, subscription information, the frequency of publication, and cost.

Electronic Databases

There are a number of electronic databases that researchers can use to find citations to specific articles on sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry. Listed below are twelve databases that index material on these topics and reflect the diversity of relevant electronic databases worth searching.

Three recommended science databases are Agricola, BIOSIS Previews, and CAB Abstracts. Agricola indexes journals, monographs, government publications, and theses from all the agricultural sciences and related disciplines. Disciplines covered include animal and veterinary sciences, entomology, plant sciences, forestry, aquaculture and fisheries, farming and farming systems, agricultural economics, extension and education, food and human nutrition, and earth and environmental sciences. BIOSIS Previews is the world's most comprehensive reference database for life science research. Nearly 5,500 serials are monitored for inclusion. In addition, books and conference papers are also indexed. Disciplines covered include traditional areas of biology, such as botany, zoology and microbiology, as well as related fields such as biomedical, agriculture, pharmacology and ecology. Interdisciplinary fields such as medicine, biochemistry, biophysics, bioengineering and biotechnology are also included. CAB Abstracts comprehensively indexes journal articles, books, conferences, reports, and other kinds of literature in the agriculture, forestry, and applied life sciences disciplines. Subjects covered include animal and crop husbandry, animal and plant breeding, plant protection, genetics, forestry engineering, economics, veterinary medicine, human nutrition, and rural development.

Three recommended social science databases are EconLit, Geography, and Sociological Abstracts. EconLit comprehensively indexes the world's economic literature. Over 400 major journals are monitored. Conference proceedings, books, dissertations, and working papers are also indexed. Geography covers the international literature in physical and human geography, and provides access to information from over 2000 journals, monographs, books, conference proceedings, reports, and theses. Sociological Abstracts provides access to the world's literature in sociology and related disciplines such as anthropology, economics, education, medicine, community development, philosophy, demography, political science, and social psychology. Conference proceedings, books, and dissertations are also indexed.

A recommended database on environmental topics is Environmental Issues & Policy Index. It provides abstract/index information for over one thousand titles in the area of environmental policy and studies.

Recommended interdisciplinary databases include Academic Search Elite, OhioLink, and PapersFirst. Academic Search Elite is a multidisciplinary database that indexes nearly 3,400 popular magazines and scholarly journals. The full text for over two thousand of these journals is available. OhioLINK is the union catalog for 84 Ohio colleges and universities, and the State Library of Ohio. It is an excellent source for locating books with chapters on sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry, as it includes tables of contents for many of the books it catalogs. To locate books with chapters on these topics, one may perform a "word" search. PapersFirst indexes the papers from all of the conferences, congresses, symposiums, workshops, and meetings received by the British Library Document Supply Centre.

Research Institutes and Non-Governmental Organizations

A number of research institutes and non-governmental organizations are working on the issues surrounding attempts to achieve sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry. The six listed below are a representative sample. All of them maintain excellent web sites; with exhaustive lists of links. A brief statement of purpose is provided for each.

The Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR) at Washington State University develops and fosters agriculture and natural resource management approaches that are economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially acceptable. This Center focuses on facilitation and networking, funding, and education. They fulfill this role specifically by supporting activities that improve land stewardship and support food system education efforts.

The Ecoforestry Institutes in the U.S. (EI) and Canada (EIS) are educational, nonprofit, non-governmental organizations dedicated to the art, science, philosophy, and practice of sustainable forestry in healthy forests. They provide education and training programs in ecologically responsible forest use; have established demonstration forests; and certified forest products from forests which are being sustained and restored.

The Institute for Sustainable Forestry (ISF) is a group of foresters, environmental activists, landowners, loggers, natural resource scientists, woodworkers, and forest practitioners that came together to consider the challenging question of how to create a forestry model that would both protect and preserve all forest values. Out of these conversations emerged the Ten Elements of Sustainability. These guiding principles underwrote the country's first ecological forestry certification program. ISF is working on a series of policy suggestions that will aid the smaller landowner continue to operate in an ecological manner and still find markets for their forest products, both timber and non-timber.

The Kerr Center in Oklahoma believes that sustainable agriculture must be socially equitable, profitable for producers and ecologically sound. They work toward this goal by assisting in developing sustainable food and farming systems; encouraging communities to protect the land from misuse, exploitation, and unfettered urban development; promoting community food security; and proclaiming the need for a culture that respects the earth and all of its diversity of life.

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University explores and cultivates alternatives that secure healthier people and landscapes in Iowa and the nation. They work towards this goal by conducting research into the negative impacts of agricultural practices; assisting in developing alternative practices; and working with the Iowa State University Extension to inform the public of Leopold Center findings.

The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) brings together university, government, farm, business and nonprofit organizations in order to exchange of scientific and practical information on sustainable agricultural systems. Funded by the USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, SAN serves as its information dissemination arm. The USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is a federal competitive grants program with regional leadership and decision-making structures.

The UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) assists California farmers and ranchers in developing and implementing sustainable production and marketing systems and helps California's rural and urban communities in understanding the concept and value of sustainable agriculture. They achieve this by administering competitive grants for research on sustainable agricultural practices and systems, developing and distributing information through publications and on-farm demonstrations, and supporting long-term research in sustainable farming systems on University of California farmlands.

National Agricultural Library

In addition to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA's) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, mentioned above, the National Agricultural Library (NAL) also sponsors a relevant program. The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) is one of several topic-oriented Information Centers at the National Agricultural Library. The Center specializes in locating and accessing information related to alternative cropping systems including sustainable, organic, low-input, biodynamic, and regenerative agriculture. AFSIC also focuses on alternative crops, new uses for traditional crops, and crops grown for industrial production. The Center creates publications that focus on specific topics of current interest. Some of the publications are bibliographic in nature.


Sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry need to be achieved if we are going to leave land on which future generations will be able to meet their needs. They are topics of significant current interest. Over half the books listed in this essay were published in the last seven years. They are topics of interest to social scientists as well as scientist. Maureen Reed's Taking Stands and Ronald Wimberly et al.'s, edited book, The Social Risks of Agriculture are examples of two such titles. A wide range of publishers are publishing books on these topics. University presses (e.g., Cambridge University Press), major science publishers (e.g. CRC Press), small commercial presses (e.g., Montana Press), and institute presses (e.g., Food First) have all published volumes.

Sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry are important, timely, interdisciplinary topics. Therefore, science librarians should ensure that their libraries have strong holdings of books representing these issues.

Books and Government Publications:

Abbott, L. K. and Murphy, Daniel V., eds. 2003. Soil Biological Fertility: A Key to Sustainable Land Use in Agriculture. Dordrecht; Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Ahmad, Abdel; Ghaffar Muhammad and Mlay, Wilfred, eds. 1998. Environment and Sustainable Development in Eastern and Southern Africa: Some Critical Issues. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Allen, Patricia, ed. 1993. Food for the Future: Conditions and Contradictions Of Sustainability. New York: Wiley.

Allin, Craig W., ed. 2000. Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues. 3 vols. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press.

Almas, Reidar and Lawrence, Geoffrey. 2003. Globalization, Localization, and Sustainable Livelihoods. Aldershot, Hants, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (U.S), comp. 1997. Sustainable Agriculture in Print: Current Books. (Special Reference Briefs Series; No. SRB 97-05) Beltsville, Md.: U.S.D.A, ARS [and] National Agricultural Library.

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (U.S), comp. 2003. Sustainable Agriculture in Print: Current Books. (Updates Special Reference Briefs Series; No. SRB 97-05) [Online] Beltsville, Md.: U.S.D.A, ARS [and] National Agricultural Library, Available: {} [Accessed September 4, 2003].

Altieri, Miguel A. 1995. Agroecology: The Science of Sustainable Agriculture. (2nd ed.) Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press; London: IT Publications.

Aplet, Gregory H.; et al., eds. 1993. Defining Sustainable Forestry. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Arntzen, Charles J. and Ritter, Ellen M., eds. 1994. Encyclopedia of Agricultural Science. 4 vols. San Diego: Academic Press.

Ascher, William. 1995. Communities and Sustainable Forestry in Developing Countries. San Francisco, Calif.: Institute for Contemporary Studies.

Beeman, Randal S. and Pritchard, James A. 2001. A Green and Permanent Land: Ecology and Agriculture in the Twentieth Century. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.

Bender, Jim. 1994. Future Harvest: Pesticide-Free Farming. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Berton, Valerie, ed. 1997. Source Book of Sustainable Agriculture for Educators, Producers and Other Agricultural Professionals: A Guide to Books, Newsletters, Conference Proceedings, Bulletins, Videos and more. Burlington, Vt.: Sustainable Agriculture Network: Sustainable Agriculture Publishers [distributor].

Bird, Elizabeth Ann R. and Bultena, Gordon L., and Gardner, John C. 1995. Planting the Future: Developing an Agriculture That Sustains Land and Community. Ames: Iowa State University Press.

Bredahl, Maury E. et al., eds. 1996. Agriculture, Trade, and the Environment: Discovering and Measuring the Critical Linkages. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.

Brussaard, L. and Ferrera-Cerrato, Ronald, eds. 1997. Soil Ecology in Sustainable Agricultural Systems. Boca Raton: CRC/Lewis Publishers.

Buck, Louise E.; Lassoie, James P., and Fernandes, Erick C.M., eds. 1999. Agroforestry in Sustainable Agricultural Systems. (Advances in Agroecology) Boca Raton, Fl.: CRC Press.

Cashore, Benjamin William, et al. 2001. In Search of Sustainability: British Columbia Forest Policy in the 1990s. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Caviglia, Jill L. 1999. Sustainable Agriculture in Brazil: Economic Development and Deforestation. (New horizons in environmental economics) Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Chadwick, Derek J. and Marsh, Joan, eds. 1993. Crop Protection and Sustainable Agriculture. (Ciba Foundation Symposium; 177). Chichester; New York: Wiley.

Colfer, Carol J. Pierce and Byron, Yvonne. 2001. People Managing Forests: The Links Between Human Well-Being and Sustainability. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future,

Conway, Gordon R. and Barbier. Edward B. 1990. After The Green Revolution: Sustainable Agriculture for Development. London: Earthscan.

Cooke, Fadzillah M. 1999. The Challenge of Sustainable Forests: Forest Resource Policy in Malaysia, 1970-1995. (Asian Studies Association Of Australia Southeast Asia Publications Series) St. Leonards, NSW: Asian Studies Association of Australia in association with Allen & Unwin; Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

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