A whole‐systems approach for assessing measures to improve arable ecosystem sustainability

C. Hawes*, G. S. Begg, P. P.M. Iannetta, A. J. Karley, G. R. Squire

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


There is increasing pressure on the agricultural industry to maintain or increase production of high‐quality food while maintaining long‐term environmental sustainability. and policies and practices have been developed and implemented in an attempt to improve the sustainability and efficiency of arable farming and satisfy these potentially conflicting requirements. However, to the authors' knowledge, there has been no attempt to quantify whether new interventions have the desired effect on improving sustainability at a whole‐systems level. Most studies focus on one, or a few, elements of a specific system and therefore fail to account for trade‐offs and conflicts between the many different interacting components. Here, we propose a whole‐systems approach based on a suite of indicators for a complete and holistic assessment of the efficacy of policies to improve economic, environmental, and ecological sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01252
JournalEcosystem Health and Sustainability
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • arable food webs
  • crop yield
  • financial margins
  • invertebrates
  • soil
  • sustainability
  • weeds


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