An Overview of Sustainability Assessment Frameworks in Agriculture

Alaoui, Abdallah; Barão, Lúcia; Ferreira, Carla S. S.; Hessel, Rudi (2022). An Overview of Sustainability Assessment Frameworks in Agriculture. Land, 11(4), p. 537. MDPI 10.3390/land11040537

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Recent research established a link between environmental alterations due to agriculture intensification, social damage and the loss of economic growth. Thus, the integration of environmental and social dimensions is key for economic development. In recent years, several frameworks have been proposed to assess the overall sustainability of farms. Nevertheless, the myriad of existing frameworks and the variety of indicators result in difficulties in selecting the most appropriate framework for study site application. This manuscript aims to: (i) understand the criteria to select appropriate frameworks and summarize the range of those being used to assess sustainability; (ii) identify the available frameworks to assess agricultural sustainability; and (iii) analyze the strengths, weaknesses and applicability of each framework. Six frameworks, namely SAFA, RISE, MASC, LADA, SMART and public goods (PG), were identified. Results show that SMART is the framework that considers, in a balanced way, the environmental, sociocultural and economic dimensions of sustainability, whereas others focused on the environmental (RISE), environmental and economic (PG) and sociocultural (SAFA) dimension. However, depending on the scale assessment, sector of application and the sustainability completeness intended, all frameworks are suitable for the assessment. We present a decision tree to help future users understand the best option for their objective.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Soil Science
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Alaoui, Abdallah


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
900 History > 910 Geography & travel








Ariane Viviane Lisa Grimmer

Date Deposited:

12 Apr 2022 18:11

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:18

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

agriculture; sustainability frameworks; socio-economic and environmental indicators; soil land management




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