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

Pretty, Jules, Attwood, S, Bawden, R, van den Berg, H, Bharucha, Z, Dixon, J and MacMillan, Tom (2020) Assessment of the Growth in Social Groups for Sustainable Agriculture and Land Management. Global Sustainability, 3. ISSN 20594798

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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: Article
Keywords: collective management, land management, social capital, social groups, sustainable agriculture
Divisions: Agriculture, Food and Environment
Depositing User: Professor Tom MacMillan
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2020 09:58
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 14:23

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