Sustainability Indicators for AR Beginners
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Sustainability Indicators for AR Beginners. Peter Thorne International Livestock Research Institute Science Advisory Group – London 17 July, 2014. What do we need from our indicators?. SMART = Specific, Measureable, Accurate, Reliable, Time-bound.

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Sustainability indicators for ar beginners

Sustainability Indicators for AR Beginners

Peter Thorne

International Livestock Research Institute

Science Advisory Group – London 17 July, 2014


Sustainability indicators for ar beginners

What do we need from our indicators?

  • SMART = Specific, Measureable, Accurate, Reliable, Time-bound.

  • But they have to practicable in the context of the Africa RISING projects.

  • Reliable means indicators that generate robust evidence that changes advocated are sustainability neutral / positive.

  • Time-bound is not just a word. To be practicable, our indicators must all be measureable over three years.

  • Probably OK for economic sustainability but robust evidence for environmental sustainability over three years?

  • Modeling sustainability?


Sustainability indicators for ar beginners

What dimensions of sustainability should our indicators address (PT)?

  • Soil OM% (Soil scientists say no as difficult to measure to timescale but total and active by POXC?).

  • Major soil nutrients (N, P and K%? Nutrient balances more measureable).

  • Soil water holding capacity (linked to Soil C and erosion).

  • Run off (potential?) / erosion losses (based on proxy indicators?).

  • Ground water recharge potential (irrigated systems).

  • Pressure on feed resources (livestock density as a proxy for this and environmental load? Is it comparable across systems?).

  • Livestock disease incidence.

  • Market potential / value.

  • Proportion of population exiting agriculture / outmigration (good or bad depends on context).


Sustainability indicators for ar beginners

Some further suggestions (IITA team + S. Snapp) …

  • Crop and/or livestock product yield gap reduction and yield per season (measurable over three years?).

  • Crop and / or livestock product harvested per year.

  • Key cycles (nutrients including carbon, erosion and water).

  • Below and above ground biodiversity (measureable over three years?).

  • Changes in organic and mineral fertilizer use.

  • Dietary diversity.

  • Stability of crop yields (temporal and spatial).

  • Adoption.

  • Soil texture -> Soil moisture holding capacity


Sustainability indicators for ar beginners

What next?

  • Do the indicators we are talking about fit the bill?

  • Have we missed any major areas (looks a bit light on social aspects to me)?

  • Agree the list of indicators that we will actually measure at our intervention sites.

  • Make sure that we have teams in place with the capacity to implement the measurements.

  • Agree responsibility for the collection, collation and analysis of indicator data.


Sustainability indicators for ar beginners

Thank You


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