Assessing the environmental impact and sustainability of apple cultivation

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2013: $140,000.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2017
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Gregory Peck
Cornell University
Our modern apple production systems have substantially increased in productivity and sophistication over the last several decades. Much of the rest of this book focuses on the science and technology by which those increases have occurred. However, like many other
modern farming systems, increased productivity often results in undesirable environmental impacts, which lower the overall sustainability of the enterprise (Merwin and Pritts, 1993). Focusing on increasing yields and fruit quality at the sacrifice of maintaining agricultural resource bases such as land, water and biodiversity can significantly threaten the long-term viability of orchards, particularly if resources become so degraded or contaminated that future production becomes limited or impossible. Minimizing negative environmental impacts, such as pesticide residues, greenhouse gas emissions and habitat loss of farming systems, is embodied in the concept of ‘sustainable
agriculture’. In this chapter, we explore how this concept that became institutionalized in the 1980s applies to modern apple production systems. The authors, both based in the United States, draw on their familiarity with examples in that country in order to illustrate
ideas and experiences, rather than provide an exhaustive review.
David Granatstein, Washington State University
Gregory Peck, Cornell University
Target audiences:
Farmers/Ranchers; Educators; Researchers
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.