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An evaluation of the socio-economic and ecological sustainability of agrarian ecosystems in Bulgaria

Hrabrin Bachev, Bozhidar Ivanov and Dessislava Toteva

Economic Thought journal, 2019, issue 2, 33-56, 57-80

Abstract: The ecosystem approach has been widely incorporated in the management and evaluation of agrarian sustainability. Despite enormous progress in this new evolving area, still there is no consensus on how to assess the sustainability of agro-ecosystems due to the diversity in understandings, approaches, methods, employed data, etc. In Bulgaria there are no comprehensive studies on the integral, socio-economic and ecological sustainability of the different types of agroecosystems. This paper makes a first attempt at assessing the sustainability of agro-ecosystems in Bulgaria. Initially, a holistic framework for assessing the integral, economic, social and ecological sustainability of agro-ecosystems, which includes 17 principles, 35 criteria, and 46 indicators and reference values, is suggested. After that, the integral and the multi-aspect sustainability of 7 generic and 10 specific agro-ecosystems in Bulgaria are assessed. The estimates are based on first-hand information collected by the managers of “typical” farms operating in different agro-ecosystems in 4 geographical regions of the country. The study has found out that there is a substantial variation in the level of integral and multi-aspect sustainability of the different types of agro-ecosystems, as well as in the level of contribution to the sustainability of various sub-sectors of agriculture and farms of different juridical type and size, where the individual indicators with the highest and lowest values show the (critical) factors which enhance or deter sustainability.

JEL-codes: Q12 Q18 Q56 Q57 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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