Sustainability of agricultural and natural systems

Analysis of sustainability and environmental balance


This line of research investigates the causes and quantifies the interrelations between the elements which interact between them at the level of agricultural and natural systems, providing useful information for improving the overall sustainability of the region.

This research is based on monitoring and data collection from organic and conventional farms, some in protected areas.

The collected data are used to identify and calculate sustainability indicators for production processes and indicators of their impact on natural resources at various levels.

The system of indicators is organized according to the DPSIR proposals at the European level and is in line with the findings from the IRENA project.

Starting: 2.01.2004
Scheduled ending: 23.09.2019
Real ending: 23.09.2019


·        To investigate and understand causes and interrelations between the different elements of the farm systems which may influence the sustainability of the farm and area due to its social, economic, environmental and governmental (governance) features.

·        To define a set of indicators which allow diagnosis of the system and continuous monitoring, aimed at providing useful indications about transferability, and also a concrete and detailed picture of the sector to give institutional support to local policy makers and planners.  



Research on analysis of the sustainability of agricultural systems and their impact on the management of natural resources began in 2004, when the Institute decided to start monitoring a number of farms in the region. The farms were chosen as being typical of a certain kind of area and because they reflected the situation of organic agriculture and not on the basis of their location.

The aim of this specific activity is to verify the impacts of agriculture on natural systems (water, soil, biodiversity and landscape) of our region, and to identify sustainable practices so that they can be transferred to other Mediterranean environments as part of the activities of international cooperation.



Analysis of the sustainability of agricultural systems is a useful base for spatialize the indicators at the regional level and for providing support to local and regional planning (knowledge system to support PSR 2007-2013).



  • Strengths

The system of indicators is organised according to the DPSIR system proposals at the European level, and is therefore in line with the findings of the IRENA project. This research has some innovative elements which are useful for analysing the sustainability of farm and local systems, with particular reference to the impacts agriculture has on natural resources.

  • Weaknesses

Need to obtain funding to ensure the continuity of this research and the involvement of other researchers.

Reference person/s: Calabrese Generosa Jenny / Ladisa Gaetano /
Collaborators: Cardone Gianluigi /
Institutions involved:
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