Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
Agricultural Research Centre of Finland, Research Station for Ecological Agriculture, FIN-51900 Juva
Within the framework of the Helsinki Commission work in the early 1980s,countries in the Baltic region agreed to decrease anthropogenic caused leeching of nitrogen to Baltic Sea, including Öresund and the Kattegatt, by half between 1985 and 1995. With the results now in, it can be confirmed that no such decrease has occurred. This failure can be ascribed in large part to the fact that the amount of nitrogen used in agriculture has not decreased. Decrease of losses of nutrients is only possible when the support to the system decrease based on a more effective nutrient utilization within the system. To day we have an agricultural structure in which several farms have been specialized on either grain or animal production. This have helped to maintain agriculture's depend of commercial fertilizers and also imported nutrients with fodder..
«True« ecological agriculture takes a different approach than conventional agriculture when it comes to solving the problems related to agricultural resource consumption. The main reason why commercial fertilizers can be dispensed with almost completely is that nutrient recycling is maximized, thereby minimizing losses to the surrounding environment.
In Finland, about 90 % of the arable land is used for producing animal feed, while in Sweden the corresponding value is 80 %. In a sustainable future with decreased support of nutrient from outside the farms, animals must be distributed more equally among the countries' farms, corresponding to the own feed production on each farm (or farms in ecological cooperation, exchanging feed for manure).
Granstedt, A. 1995. Studies on the flow supply and losses of nitrogen and other plant nutrients in conventional and ecological agricultural systems in Sweden. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture, Vol. 11, 51-67.