Currently sustainable agricultural production is more than ever regarded as a major precondition of economic development. So far. various definitions and methodological concepts have been forwarded to measure the sustainability of agroecosystems and farming systems. This work provides a comprehensive synopsis of these methodological approaches and it discusses their advantages and shortcomings. On the basis of this synopsis the authors review the validity of research results for the assessment of sustainability of current land use systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is concluded that most research activities cover only partial aspects of sustainability. In particular, very little emphasis has been put so far on indigenously developed techniques to maintain soil fertility and hence sustainable agricultural production. The authors propose a modified multidisciplinary approach to identify sustainable land systems.
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