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Title: Permaculture and conventional agriculture : a comparative analysis
Authors: Mizzi, Denise (2012)
Keywords: Sustainable agriculture -- Malta
Permaculture -- Malta
Organic farming -- Malta
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: Over the last two decades a substantial amount of literature has been written on sustainable agriculture emanating from the discovery that mainstream, conventional agriculture is facing numerous constraints, mainly due to its intensification. The Maltese Agricultural sector is no exception – The Environment Report (MEPA, 2008) identifies agriculture, together with land development, “as the principle anthropogenic pressures in countryside areas”. Recognising such an adverse impact of agricultural intensification on the environment, many alternatives to this traditional form of agriculture have been proposed as a way of achieving sustainable agriculture. Permaculture is a case in point. It “involves the design of sustainable agricultural systems and human habitats that mimic the patterns and relationships found in natural ecologies.” (McManus, 2010) This dissertation is a comparative analysis between two agricultural systems: a conventional system and a permaculture system situated at Marsaskala, in the South East of Malta. The scope of such study is to investigate which of these two agronomic production systems is closer to the ideal concept of sustainable agriculture. This was done by selecting an indicator for each of the three pillars of sustainable agriculture, i.e. the economic, environmental and social dimension. In order to assess environmental sustainability of the two systems, topsoil organic carbon was chosen, as it is the best indicator for soil quality. Topsoil organic carbon content was found using the Walkley and Black Method, at the Għammieri Laboratories. In terms of economic sustainability, the potential profit per unit of agricultural land from the two systems was compared while for social sustainability, the type of pesticides applied should the common pest Tuta absoluta invade tomatoes was investigated. Hence this is a predominantly qualitative study with some quantitative analysis. The latter two indicators were investigated through semi-structured interviews to the producers concerned coupled with field observation.
Description: B.A.(HONS)GEOGRAPHY
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2012
Dissertations - FacArtGeo - 2012

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