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Presently some 400 research projects related to organic farming (OF) are performed in the Nordic Region. Most projects are component oriented, using reductionistic methods, but there are also some innovative projects with holistic, multiperspective approaches. In order to create agricultural systems that comply with the holistic views of OF, new research methodology needs to be developed. How this should be done is now debated in the Nordic countries.


The aim of this paper is to review the current state of research in organic farming (OF) in the Nordic countries, focusing on the discussion regarding research methodologies for OF. A brief background of the Nordic situation is given and the methodological problems arising from basing research on the concept of OF are discussed. This paper is only dealing with the situation in the Nordic countries, that is Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It should be noted that OF is called "ecological agriculture" in the Nordic countries. The paper is based on personal observations, interviews with one or two key persons in each of the Nordic countries (see list of "Personal communications" at the end of this paper) and a literature study. All interviewed persons have responded very kindly. However, all viewpoints and any mistakes in this text are the full responsibility of the author.


The Nordic Region has a population of about 24 million and 8 306 000 ha of arable land (Nordic Statistical Yearbook 1997; Table 1). The area shares a common cultural and historical background. In Denmark, Sweden and Norway the languages are similar enough to allow the inhabitants to understand each other. Agro-eco zones and growing conditions are mainly determined by latitude and altitude, causing big differences between north and south in the Region rather than between countries. Livestock farming systems are generally favoured by climatic and geographic conditions in the Region. In certain areas it is difficult to harvest matured grain, due to very high yearly precipitation (as in the western parts of Norway and in Iceland) or to short growing season (as in the northern parts of the Scandinavian Peninsula, especially inland and in Iceland). Ley production is however, feasible almost everywhere, making livestock and particularly milk production (based on clover-grass hay or silage) the most important type of production in large areas since ancient times.

Livestock farms are generally facing fewer problems while converting to OF as compared to other production systems. The difference between organic and conventional livestock farming is usually relatively small, at least in those areas where grain can be harvested. A great increase in farming intensity has taken place in the Region during the last four decades, causing a wide range of environmental problems facing agriculture today.

Table 1. Population and arable land in the Nordic countries (Nordic Statistical Yearbook, 1997)








Total population 1/1 1997,
(1 000s)

5 275

5 132


4 393

8 845

23 913

Total arable land,
1 000 ha

2 332

2 125




8 306

* 1/1 1996

There are also differences between the countries. For example, Denmark generally has more favourable soils and climate for arable farming. In contrast to the other Nordic countries the food and agricultural sector is important for Danish export, contributing to 24 percent of the export income in 1996 (Agricultural Council of Denmark, 1998). Politically, Norway and Iceland are not members of the European Union, however, they are members of the European Economic Area (EEA). Finland and Norway have had a comparatively protectionistic agricultural policy for a number of years, while Denmark and Sweden have tried to adapt to world market prices. Environmental issues have been more debated in Denmark and Sweden than in the other countries. Farm animal welfare has been another issue of great concern to the public in these countries.


Biodynamic agriculture was practised in the Nordic Region already in the 1930s. The biodynamic research group "Nordisk Forskningsring" first started research in OF in 1949. Their most well known research project is a 32-year (1958-1990) field trial regarding effects of different manuring systems on product quality (Pettersson et al., 1992).

In the 1970s the present concept of ecological agriculture started to develop (MAF, 1995). The big increase in number of farms converting to ecological agriculture started in the 1980s, especially in Denmark and Sweden, mainly out of environmental concern. Today, OF is generally accepted by all sectors of society as a viable alternative to conventional farming. In Denmark and Sweden organic food producers are at the moment having difficulties satisfying consumer demand for organic certified products. In Finland and Norway the development has been slower. In Norway there was early political support for OF, resulting in the establishment of the Norwegian Centre of Ecological Agriculture in 1986 with the aim to promote OF research (Saether, 1997). In Iceland the idea of OF has been generally accepted only during the last few years. Still a big scale conversion (20 percent of farms) has been politically debated in the Parliament of Iceland. An increasing international demand for organic mutton has accelerated Icelandic farmers' interest in OF (Thorsson, pers. comm.).


The Nordic agricultural universities have generally been slow in accepting the idea of OF as a research field, as compared to the widespread acceptance of the phenomenon in other sectors of society (e.g. among politicians and consumers). Its acceptance in universities has generally followed a pattern supporting the theories of a paradigm shift (see e.g. Wynen, 1998). The first chair in Ecological agriculture was introduced at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in 1990 (financed directly through the Council for Forestry and Agricultural Research rather than by the university itself). Today the following six chairs have been established in the Nordic Region: two in organic plant production, three in agro-ecology and one in ecological animal husbandry. In addition there are two associate professors.

During the last decade and estimated in round figures, more than US$100 million have been dedicated to OF research and development projects in the Region. In addition, some OF projects have received funding from "conventional" sources. It is estimated that about 400 projects of varying size are presently on-going in the Nordic Region.

A problem is to make a clear distinction of what to classify as "organic" projects. Many projects are of great interest both for organic and conventional farming. Another difficult distinction is that between research and development projects. One should be aware that these distinctions might vary between countries, making comparisons of figures in the following overview difficult. Also, while the number of projects is reviewed, the size of the individual projects may vary considerably.


In Denmark a big research agenda was launched in 1996 following a government decision on a US$17.5 million funding of OF research. Three big research programmes were started, all coordinated by the Danish Research Centre for Organic Farming. Later more projects have been added, so that a total of six programmes are now coordinated by the Centre (Table 2).

There are also OF research projects headed by other Danish research institutions. The Danish "Økoguide" (Borgen, 1997) lists 47 such on-going projects. An estimated 4-8 percent of the total agricultural research budget is allocated to research in OF (Kristensen, pers. comm.).

Table 2. Research projects coordinated by the Danish Research Centre for Organic Farming
(Research Centre for Organic Farming 1997)


US$ Million

Time period

Project distribution

I Strategic and basic research in OF emphasizing biological and environmental aspects



4 in plant production
2 in animal husbandry
2 in enterprise and environment

II Production oriented research and development projects in OF



3 in plant production
2 in vegetable, fruit and berry production
2 in animal husbandry
2 in enterprises and environment

III Development and research activities in organic plant production



7 in plant production
2 in vegetable production

IV Organic crop husbandry




V Production and sale of organic pork



2 projects

VI Interdisciplinary synthesis of knowledge and education programme for researchers



2 projects


In 1995 a two-year research programme for OF was launched, comprising some 50 projects in nine areas (Table 3). The programme has been extended for another three years. It now includes 77 projects: 39 of these are classified as "pure" organic and 38 as "supporting" organic research (Seuri, pers. comm.).

Table 3. Overview of the Finnish OF research programme 1995-97 (Höök, 1996)

Research area

Number of projects

Number of annual work units

Plant nutrition



Natural resources, economy and society



Plant protection, environment and landscape



Animal husbandry



Vegetable, fruit and berry production



Labour technique and machinery



Food quality



Plant breeding, seeds and variety trials


(no information)

Food processing and distribution


(no information)


There is currently no official OF research programme in Iceland. During the last years a few projects have received small grants from the Icelandic Research Council and through a project run by the Farmers' Association. This also includes support for marketing and for farmers converting to OF. In 1997 about US$50 000 were used for research projects, however, not all can be considered organic (Thorsson, pers. comm.).


The Norwegian Research Council for Ecological Agriculture is in the process of publishing a catalogue of on-going OF research and development projects (Serikstad, in print). It lists about 40 such projects.


A catalogue published at the Center for Sustainable Agriculture at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (af Geijerstam, 1998) lists 161 on-going research and development projects at this university considered to be directly related to OF. In addition, it lists another 53 projects performed at other Swedish universities and research institutions. The Swedish Board of Agriculture (1998) has published a similar review of OF research projects, including both completed and on-going projects. This catalogue lists 281 projects: 66 in plant nutrition, 35 in plant protection, 24 in weed control, 66 in crop production, 14 in plant husbandry techniques/cropping systems, 14 "systems comprehensive" projects, one in energy supply, two in economy and 59 in animal husbandry.


To be able to discuss methodological problems related to OF research, it is necessary to have a definition of what is included in the concept. A joint Nordic definition of OF ("ecological agriculture") was made by the Nordic IFOAM group in 1989. This manifesto is called The Nordic Platform for Ecological Agriculture. It has since been further elaborated, e.g. by the Swedish Council for Forestry and Agricultural Research which in 1996 published a report on the present state of knowledge and need for future OF research (Höök, 1996). It includes an exhaustive definition of "ecological agriculture" used when distributing research funding allocated for OF.

Also the national standards are of importance when discussing the concept of OF. There is one certification organization in each country issuing national standards (based on the IFOAM basic standards). Iceland forms the exception having two certification organizations. In Denmark there are also national standards set by the Government in 1987 (however, somewhat less strict than those issued by the Danish Certification Organization). Denmark passed a law in 1987 on OF production.


The Nordic platform consists of a definition of OF, a description of the conceptual background, stated aims and practical applications (Granstedt et al., 1998).

Definition and background: OF is defined as a self reliant, sustainable agro-ecosystem, based on local and renewable resources. It is stated that OF is based on a holistic view where nature is considered as a whole with an intrinsic value of its own. Further, humankind is to take moral responsibility regarding the ecological, economical and social aspects of agricultural production.

Aims: The aims form human duties aimed at humans and farm animals as well as nature. The aims are presented in Table 4.

Practical applications: The basis for the plant production is the respect for soil structure and fertility and a balanced crop rotation. Soil fertility is to be maintained through recirculation of organic material. Farming should be carried out with respect to curative actions against pests and weeds. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are not allowed. A balance is necessary between the number of animals on the farm and the acreage. This means that the animals as far as possible should be fed from that farm's production and that manuring should cause a minimum of environmental impact.

Table 4. Aims of OF according to the Nordic Platform


Human duties/aims


To produce high quality food in sufficient amounts with fair and equal distribution between humans, locally as well as globally.

To take social responsibility for the farmer, i.e. providing a reasonable income, a safe working environment and a meaningful job.

To create good and close relations between farmers and consumers.

Farm animals

To safeguard farm animal well-being, including the possibility to perform natural behaviour.


(the cultural landscape, natural resources)

To create a cultural landscape with a diversity of species as well as genetic diversity within species and in which the development potentialities of all living organisms are safeguarded.

To create recirculation of nutrients between urban areas and the surrounding landscape through the integration of urban areas, agro-ecosystems and natural ecosystems.

To economize with the natural resources and minimize the environmental impact.

To safeguard the long-term fertility of the soil.


The statement that ecological agriculture is to be based on a holistic view has consequences on how to perform OF research. This view is based on the concept that a system is more than the sum of its parts, for example, that to gain information about the system you cannot only study its parts but you must also include a study of the system itself (Lübcke, 1983). The ambition of OF research to grasp a rich picture of a complex system puts new and challenging requirements on the methodology used. It calls for a multiperspective approach in research.

The Danish authors Fjelsted Alrøe and Kristensen (1998) argued that the necessity for OF research to develop a holistic view implies that:

As a consequence, research must also include all the practical elements of the agricultural system and here OF has a great strength in that it is actually a viable alternative that already functions in practice. Since the system aims at self-sustainability, research must focus on self-sustainable units. This means that the whole spectrum must be included; in some cases the perspective must be global but in other cases a local or regional perspective will do. The following methodological approaches are presently discussed in the Nordic Region as relevant to OF.

Systems Approach

The broad understanding of the OF concept demonstrated in the Nordic platform, together with the complexity of livestock farming calls for a systems approach (e.g. Ebbersten, S., 1990; Helander, C.A., 1997; Kristensen and Halberg, 1997). The systems view is argued by all interviewed persons as one needed characteristic of OF research.

A major problem is that there are presently few techniques developed to analyse farming systems and the emergent properties of such systems. Most of the systems research performed today consists of analysing subsystems rather than the system as such. (Lieblein pers. comm.). There is a need for more synthesizing research methods. Two methods of systems research have drawn particular attention in the Nordic Region:

  1. The ideas of systems ecology and energy analysis introduced by H.T. Odum (1988). The analysed systems are here regarded as open and interactive with their surroundings. The uniqueness of this method is that both the environment and human activities can be incorporated and measured in the same analysis, since resource flow is measured on the same basis. The method is measuring the value of nature for the economical system, according to the premise that the value of a resource is proportional to the amount of energy used to generate that resource, irrespective of geological, biological or economical origin.
  2. Farming as a human activity system. This view has been inspired by Checkland's soft systems methodology (Checkland, 1981) and the farming systems research developed by Bawden (e.g. Bawden, 1995) among others. The farming system is not only seen as a production process but as a human activity system (e.g. Kristensen and Halberg, 1997). The researcher becomes an actor in the system, rather than an objective outside observer. The view automatically also brings in the qualitative "soft systems" aspect into research (see below).

It was noted that the first four Nordic postgraduate courses in OF (held in 1995-98) were about systems research in this notion (e.g. Lieblein, 1997). One of the co-workers in the Bawden research group, Nadarajah Sriskanderaja, has spent about six months at the Agricultural University of Norway where he contributed spreading the ideas of farming as a human activity system. In addition the American professor Charles Francis was appointed in 1998-99, the first Visiting Professor of the Agro-ecology in Nordic Forestry, Veterinary and Agricultural University (NOVA). He has extensive experience from system design and participatory learning processes and will contribute to the Nordic development in these fields, e.g. through the design of a comprehensive MSc degree programme in ecological production systems.

Participatory research has emerged out of the view of farming as a human activity system. Here the researcher joins with the farmer, the advisor and other concerned parties and each participant contributes with his/her experience and knowledge both in formulating the research questions and in performing the research. Participatory research also provides an excellent method of finding the key issues for future OF research.

Qualitative Aspect

  1. Soft systems methodology. In order to include human activities in research, much more attention must be paid to soft systems methodology. Qualitative research is common in the social sciences and there is a need for interdisciplinary exchange. The natural sciences have to learn qualitative research from a systems perspective.
  2. Ethical aspects. Ethics is the qualitative aspect dealing with human values and morals. In a recent article Fjelsted Alrøe and Kristensen (1998) concluded that to analyse the complexity of a livestock based farming system, a systemic view is a first step in research. The second step is to move beyond the limits for what is conventionally considered as scientific, to also include the values and the ethical context of which the research is a part.

Multiperspective Approach

The Nordic platform takes a multiperspective approach which is also necessary in OF research. All the above-mentioned perspectives (and more) must be included for a fully holistic view. A key characteristic of real life oriented and thus relevant systems research, is that it transcends natural sciences with their often quantitative methods and social sciences with their often qualitative methods. As such, the systems researcher aims to deal with both natural as well as human processes in agriculture and to relate those processes to the real life situation as a whole (the systems perspective) (Lieblein pers. comm.).

A recent interesting discussion regards the role of intuition in research (Borgen, 1998). Since a holistic view calls for including all possible factors, human intuition could be a superior tool in the evaluation process. Thus, it is needed to develop tools for the use of human intuition in research.


Looking at a research project as a three-step process (Figure 1), an alternative perspective may be taken either in parts of the process or during the whole process.

A project with an altogether "alternative" approach would pose the research question from a holistic perspective, then use an alternative scientific methodology in the second step to answer the question and finally make the evaluation and synthesis of results again from a holistic perspective.

However, all interviewed persons agree that an altogether "alternative" approach is not always necessary. "Holistic" research questions may well be answered through the use of conventional methodology. The crucial point is to have a holistic approach when drafting the research question, as well as when discussing the results.

The majority of the Nordic research projects are component oriented, solving the problems on a component rather than systemic level. The interviewed persons estimated that more than 90 percent of the present research projects have a conventional design, using reductionistic methods. Several projects show little of holistic approach, thus taking the same perspective as conventional agriculture, only suggesting techniques with less environmental impact as solutions to the problem. That is, a lack of holistic perspective may lead to reductionistic answers not leading much further in developing a sustainable agricultural system.

One reason for the strong component orientation is probably that it has been difficult enough to get the Nordic universities and funding bodies to accept OF as a research field, even with "conventional" research design. Projects also including alternative methodology have had marginal chances to be funded. This is probably also a reason why there has not been much development of alternative research methodologies in OF research. The alternative methodology is usually developed within other areas of science. This is true fore example, for farming systems research and multivariate statistical analysis.

Another reason why there has been little development of holistic methodology is that it usually requires some kind of interdisciplinary studies, e.g. between natural and social/humanistic sciences. Such border crossings are not favoured by the academic system by which researchers qualify themselves for future advancement. In addition, it is more difficult to receive funding for such studies (Wynen, 1997).

Figure 1. The research project as a three step process

Methodology questions are presently a "hot issue" in Nordic countries. For example, in Autumn (1998), seminars were arranged on this topic in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Thus, one can anticipate an interesting development of innovative methodology resulting in an increased number of research projects taking holistic approaches.


Below some examples of Nordic projects that may be considered to have an innovative approach in some respect are listed7.

Systems research: The Swedish Council for Forestry and Agricultural Research has financed a "Research School in Ecological Land Use" (ReS-ELU), starting in 1998. It is headed by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and four Swedish universities participate. There will also be close cooperation with other Nordic research schools. The research area is defined as OF in a dynamic interaction with surrounding society and nature. Humans and nature are viewed as integrated parts of a single system. The starting point and focus will be agricultural sub-systems8 and the importance of the interfaces between society, agriculture and the environment (Figure 2). The approach will emphasize interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and synthesis. Nine PhD positions are integrated in interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary projects. Five major interrelated research themes are identified as the core programme of the school:

  1. internal processes of OF;
  2. processes and interactions between agriculture, societal metabolism9 and environment;
  3. interactions between agriculture and socio-economic frameworks;
  4. how ecological knowledge is created and shared in relation to agriculture;
  5. strategic options for the processes of change toward ecological agriculture.

A holistic approach is taken in a group of projects at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. These are trying to apply the systems thinking of H.T. Odum on agricultural systems. One example is the project "The role of agriculture in a sustainable society" where emergy analysis is used for measuring agriculture's biophysical dependency on the surrounding world.

Another interesting group of projects at the same university deals with the development of long-term self-sustainable animal husbandry systems. Grazing animals (also pigs and poultry) are included in the crop rotation and the animals' natural behaviours are utilized for productive labour, e.g. rooting pigs are used for breaking the ley.

In Finland a project is planned for studying the question whether environmental quality of organic grain could be increased by local production (the whole food chain taken into consideration) rather than by a global grain production system. This is a multidisciplinary study integrated with food systems research.

Figure 2. Proposed Research School will highlight the interfaces between society, agriculture and the environment.

On-farm research: In Norway a large scale case study and on-farm research including 30 farms was performed in 1989-92 at the Norwegian Centre for Ecological Agriculture. This project was continued with 13 of the farms in 1993-96. The projects mostly consisted of on-farm data collection but also included some development of new methodology. In the same institute a three year on-farm project was made studying the impact of heavy traffic in ley, including an alternative statistical design.

Also in Denmark there is a big on-farm project administered by the Danish Institute for Agricultural Sciences. Data collection is made on the farms while they also function as demonstration farms and a basis for other research projects.

Participatory research: In Finland, a five year participatory research project started in 1995 as a cooperation between Helsinki University and Partala Research Station for Ecological Agriculture. It is focused on organic vegetable farms.

In Sweden a participatory research project has just started. Six farmers, one farm manager, one adviser and three researchers will work together focusing on leguminous plant production and green manuring. The aim is to extend the participatory research to more projects.

The project "Developing ecological agriculture in typical field crop areas in Norway" aims to develop knowledge to support farmers in conversion to OF, in areas presently dominated by monoculture grain cropping. The project is systems oriented, studying the areas in-between soil- and crop sciences and animal sciences and also between the natural sciences and the social sciences. The results are presented in conventional terms. The project focuses on studies of real life farms and applies participatory methodologies as an integral part of the scientific process.

A very interesting form for participatory research is the "Grass Root Research" in Denmark. In 1998-2001 the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will provide US$3.2 million for innovative research to be initiated by farmers and other citizens wanting to do "down to earth-research" in organic farming. It is not necessary that results are reproducible according to scientific practice. The aim is to create a dialogue with established researchers and that the grass root research will provide new ideas for future scientific work. This research programme was initiated by the Danish Association for Organic Farming.

Projects including the study of values and ethics: At the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences a project "The interplay between agricultural production, values and regulations in organic farming" was performed in 1993-97. It included three sub-projects: "The degree of sustainability and ethical accounting in organic farming", "Farmers' non-economical values" and "Farmers' non-economical values in relation to distribution, authorities, research and advisory organizations".

In Sweden two interdisciplinary projects studying ethics in OF are performed: a three year project "Environmental ethics in sustainable agriculture" and a four year project "Values and ethics in animal husbandry within OF".

Two Danish projects have focused on the philosophy of OF. One project is performed at the Aalborg University Center, focusing on the transition and change between OF and the establishment, including philosophical and historical aspects and looking into other cultures. Another project "Nature ethics as a practical concept" has been performed at the Technical University of Denmark. It is a case study, based on qualitative interviews with six farmers. Values and ethics expressed by the farmers are compared with their ways of farming in practice. Interdisciplinary methodology is used on a phenomenological and anthropological basis.

A four year phenomenological study of farmers in conversion to OF, "The basis for decision-making in organic farming" has recently been completed at the Agricultural University of Norway.

A project at the Danish Research Centre for OF, "Farm management in relation to the values of environment and nature" is studying a Multi-objective Decision Support System. It is trying to operationalize an ethical accounting system for animal husbandry and for farm impact on landscape ecology.

Studies in "scientifically controversial" topics: A few projects deal with scientifically controversial topics, such as homeopathy or biodynamic preparations. In 1998 a four year project, "Alternative veterinary medicine and biological plant protection" was started. It includes a study of homeopathic treatment of infectious diseases in farm animals at the Norwegian College of Veterinary Medicine and a study of holistic methods for plant protection at the Norwegian Centre for Ecological Agriculture. In Denmark a literature study regarding homeopathy and homeopathic treatment of farm animals was performed earlier at the Danish Institute for Animal Sciences.

Three projects at the Danish Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University study anthroposophic picture creating methods (using copper chloride crystallization or picture chromatography with silver nitrate) for measuring qualitative characteristics of plant products. These projects include development of methodology.

In Sweden a university project, "Effects of biodynamic preparations on plant mineral balance" is part of a project run by the Biodynamic Association dealing with the handling of farm yard manure, soil fertility and product quality.

Multiperspective projects: In Denmark ten scientists from three different research institutions (Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Research Centre Risø and the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University) are cooperating in a project, "Biological nitrogen fixation, recirculation and leakage of nitrogen in organic farming systems". The project is aiming at "knowledge synthesis", studying the nitrogen balance in organic farming.


Some 400 research projects related to OF are presently on-going in the Nordic Region. The overwhelming majority (90 percent or more) of projects are component oriented, using reductionistic methods. In order to create agricultural systems that comply with the holistic views of OF, new research methodology needs to be developed. There is an awareness of this problem among researchers in the Region and there is presently a debate regarding how to develop OF research methodology. There is also a general agreement on the concept of OF and the methodological development will most probably be facilitated through close cooperation among the Nordic research institutions. Although there are already interesting projects on-going, the number of projects with a holistic, multiperspective approach is likely to increase in the future. We can look forward to interesting developments in this field.


Agricultural Council of Denmark (1998): Vaerd at vide 1/98.

Bawden, R. (1995): "On the systems dimension in FSR.", J. Farming Systems Res. and Educ. Vol. 5, no. 2., 1-18 pp.

Borgen, A. (1998): "Har holdningen till økologisk jordbrug konsekvenser for valget af forskningsmetoder?" KVLs Forum for Bioetik om økologisk jordbrug.

Borgen, M. (ed.) Økoguide 97/98. Økologisk Landscenter.

Checkland, P. (1981): "Systems thinking: Systems practice". New York.

Ebbersten, S. (1990): "Lantbruksvetenskap - en omvärldsanalys inför 2000-talet med särskild hänsyn till agronom-, hortonom- och landskapsarkitektutbildningarna." SLU/Förvalning nr. 16, SLU, Uppsala.

Fjelsted Alrøe, H. and E. S. Kristensen (1998): "Baeredygtighed og økologisk jordbrug." Landbrugsøkonomisk Forum nr. 3. In print.

af Geijerstam, L. (1998): Ekologiskt lantbruk. Forsknings- och utvecklingsprojekt, försöksgårdar och skoljordbruk i Sverige 1998. Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Granstedt, A., Bovin, B., Brorsson, K.-Å., Lund, V. and Å. Rölin (1998): Ekologiskt lantbruk - fördjupning. Natur och Kultur/LTs förlag. Falköping.

Helander, C.A. (1997): "The Logården project: development of an ecological and an integrated arable farming system." In: Ittersum, M.K. van and Geijin, S.C. van de (eds.) Perspectives for Agronomy - Adopting Ecological Principles and Managing Resource Use, 309-317 pp.

Höök, K. (1996): Ekologisk jordbruks- och trädgårdsproduktion. Utredning om kunskapsläge, pågående forskning och behov av fortsatt forskning. Swedish Council for Forestry and Agricultural Research.

Lazslo, E. and A. Lazslo (1997): "The contribution of the Systems Sciences to the Humanities." Systems Research and Behavioural Science 14, 15-19 pp.

Lieblein, G. (ed.) (1997): From farming systems to food systems: Third Nordic postgraduate course in ecological agriculture. Dep. Horticulture and Crop Sci., Agric. Univ. Norway (NLH), P.O. Box 5022, 1432 Ås, Norway.

Lübcke, P. (ed.) (1983): Filosofilexikonet. Copenhagen.

MAF (1995): Aktionsplan for fremme af den økologiske fødevareproduktion i Danmark Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery.

Nordic statistical yearbook. (1997): Nordic council of Ministers.

Pettersson, B., Reents, H.J. and E. von. Wistinghausen (1992): Düngung und Bodeneigenschafen. Ergebnisse eines 32-jährigen Feldversuches in Järna, Schweden. Nordisk Forskningsring, Meddelande nr. 34.

Research Centre for Organic Farming (1997): Statusrapporter 1997. Foulum, Denmark.

Saether, S. (1997): Ti år i vekst. Norwegian Centre for Ecological Agriculture, Tingvoll.

Serikstad, G.L. (ed.) Økologisk landbruk. Strategiske instituttprogrammer, forsknings-, formidlings- og utviklingsprosjekter i Norge 1998-99. Norwegian Centre for Ecological Agriculture, Tingvoll. In print.

Swedish Board of Agriculture (1998): Sammanställning över ekologiska projekt. Jordbruksverket Rapport 1998:6. Jönköping.

Wynen, E. (1997): "Research on Biological Farming Methods in Europe. Perspectives, status and requirements." In: Krell, R. (ed.) Biological Farming Research in Europe. REU Technical Series No. 54. Proceedings of an Expert Roundtable, Braunschweig, Germany, 28 June 1997.

Wynen, E. (1998): "Research implications of a paradigm shift in agriculture: The case of organic farming." In: Dragun, A. and Jakobsson, K. Frontiers in Environmental Economics. Swedish Univ. of Agr. Sci., Dept. of Economics, Report 119. Uppsala.


Francis, Charles, Norwegian University of Agriculture, Norway
Helenius, Juha, University of Helsinki, Finland
Kristensen, Erik Steen, Research Centre for Organic Farming, Foulum, Denmark
Lieblein, Geir, Norwegian University of Agriculture, Norway
Ruissen, Theo, Norwegian Centre for Ecological Agriculture, Norway
Rydberg, Torbjörn, Swedish University of Agriculture, Sweden
Salomonsson, Lennart, Swedish University of Agriculture, Sweden
Seuri, Pentti, Agricultural Research Centre of Finland, Ecological Production, Partala, Finland
Thorsson, Johann, RALA, Iceland


7 . All the following translations of project titles into English are done by the author.
8 . Agricultural denotes all forms of land use by arable farming, forestry, animal husbandry, horticulture, etc.
9 . Societal metabolism denotes the energy and material flows or turnover in society.


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