New book: Sustainability benefits rural communities

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AMES, Iowa – A Native American tribe cares for its forestland in Nebraska. A Minnesota community works together to save its lakes. A banana company in Panama transforms landscapes and livelihoods.

These are a few case studies included in a new book, “Interactions Between Agroecosystems and Rural Communities,” edited and co-authored by Cornelia Flora, Iowa State University rural sociologist.

The book examines the effects of agricultural production on people and the environment. The authors analyze how to maintain sustainability both economically and environmentally. They also discuss the importance of understanding alternative ways of working with communities to improve sustainability.

An agroecosystem is any biological system that produces products for human use. Flora said such systems include raising livestock, forestry, crop production and fisheries.

“Focusing on just the economic part of food production can have bad impacts,” Flora said. “Working as a community is critical to ensure that doing something sustainable pays off economically.”

“Interactions Between Agroecosystems and Rural Communities” is available from CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla., 800-272-7737, www.crcpress.com.

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