The sustainability assessment of plantation agriculture - a systematic review of sustainability indicators

Nadaraja, M.D., Lu, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-0064-4725 and Islam, D.M.M., 2021. The sustainability assessment of plantation agriculture - a systematic review of sustainability indicators. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 26, pp. 892-910.

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The unsustainable growth of the plantation agricultural sector has caused numerous sustainability challenges including environmental, economic, social and governance concerns. Although a wide variety of sustainability indicators have been developed to monitor and assess the sustainability issues for agriculture in general, few, if any have been developed specifically for plantation agriculture. In response to this, we conducted a systematic review of the literature in order to identify the most commonly used or suggested indicators of sustainability in plantation agriculture and to identify the critical issues in the development of a comprehensive and unambiguous set of sustainability indicators for plantation agriculture. We used the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) method in our systematic review. Following the screening of a large number of articles identified through database searches, 40 articles were finally selected and analysed in this study. The results of the analysis (i.e. indicators) were organized according to the sustainability indicator framework developed by the United Nations Commissions on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). A total of 47 commonly used or suggested indicators relevant for assessing the sustainability of plantation agricultural systems, along with the potential issues in their application were identified. Although it was possible to identify relevant indicators, it was difficult to conclusively identify a universal set of indicators to assess the sustainability of different plantation agricultural systems. We conclude that although developing a suite of sustainability indicators that cover the environmental, social, economic and governance dimensions can add value to agricultural plantations, there is a need to develop sustainability indicators via a bottom up and participatory approach to select a suite of sustainability indicators for plantation agriculture that are not only relevant but can be acceptable to a wide range of stakeholder groups.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Sustainable Production and Consumption
Creators: Nadaraja, M.D., Lu, C. and Islam, D.M.M.
Publisher: Elsevier
Date: April 2021
Volume: 26
S235255092031441XPublisher Item Identifier
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 14 Jan 2021 11:52
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2023 03:00

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