Assessment tool to compare the environmental, economic and social sustainability of strawberry production systems in Quebec
Over the last decades, strawberry production in Quebec has evolved in response to consumers' demand for all year round high quality fruits. Production systems are now numerous and include matted rows, plasticulture, and high tunnels. Growers are also asked to produce fruits in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible way, while maintaining a high profitability for their production. In this context, assessing the environmental, economic and social sustainability of different production systems is necessary albeit complex. The objective of this study is to develop a tool for comparing the environmental, economic and social sustainability of different strawberry production systems used in Quebec using a multi-criteria analysis model. Such a model is a hierarchical structure that divides a complex problem into smaller problems easier to solve. This type of model is composed of basic attributes, the inputs of the model, which correspond to the parameters from the different production systems. Basic attributes are combined into aggregate attributes using if-then utility functions (e.g., if attribute A is high and attribute B is medium then node aggregating A and B is medium). The aggregation continues until reaching the root attributes which are the main outputs, such as the economic or the overall sustainability. The DEXi software, which allows the use of qualitative variables, was used for the development of the model. The model was developed from literature data, and was validated with growers and experts in strawberry production. Ultimately, the multi-criteria analysis model could be used as part of a didactic tool for growers and stakeholders to promote environmentally sustainable practices within the strawberry industry.
Gendron, M., Gravel, V. and Carisse, O. (2017). Assessment tool to compare the environmental, economic and social sustainability of strawberry production systems in Quebec. Acta Hortic. 1156, 587-592
strawberry production, sustainability assessment, multi-criteria decision-aid method, model, DEXi, participatory approach