Sustainability is not a new issue in agriculture and horticulture.
It has been the foundation of many developments in the past.
On the other hand, sustainability issues seem to have been neglected during the development of some current agricultural and horticultural practices, e.g. when solving one problem by adaptation of a new technology has created a new problem, that turned out to be even more serious for farmers and the entire society than the one which it intended to solve (e.g. constant use of preemergent herbicides led to contamination of ground water and wells).
By learning from these lessons, sustainability has become a top issue on the agenda of those, who address and direct developments in agriculture: companies, agropoliticians, public or private institute researchers, extension agents, wholesalers and last, but not at all least, growers.
What was and is the role of research, particularly of horticultural research in that context? In the past, research has contributed to the development of sustainable systems mainly by addressing environmental issues while nowadays the economical and social aspects gained in importance.
Horticultural research has been on the forefront of the development of sustainable agricultural systems in the past by developing technology that later has been adapted to arable and other crops.
However, nowadays, horticultural research lacks a leading role in issues on sustainability.
This is in contrast to the societal demand.
Therefore, ISHS decided to include one symposium on issues in sustainability at its International Horticultural Congress in Toronto 2002.
This volume of Acta Horticulturae is the Proceedings of the 2002 International Society for Horticultural Science Congress Symposium on Issues in Sustainability: Stewardship of Resources, Alternative Production Systems, Climate Change, and Issues Affecting Economic Sustainability.
The rationale behind development of the symposium program was that it should encourage discussion that would in turn stimulate development of sustainable horticultural systems around the world, through interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary horticultural research.
The organizers wanted to attract scientists, experts and research managers in horticulture, that are interested to learn from case studies and disciplines not necessarily directly related to their own expertise.
By adapting new technologies and ideas learned at this Symposium to their own field of activity, researchers should help contribute to the development of horticultural systems that grow fruits, vegetables, flowers and other horticultural products for further generations.
The Symposium structure supported this rationale by developing cross-disciplinary and cross-commodity Symposium days with two sessions each, starting at the conceptual level, followed by an appreciation of actual horticultural systems and options, and the development of perspectives for the future.
The day themes were: Day I – Sustainability in Horticulture: Concepts and Systems; Day II - Stewardship of Resources; Day III - The Organic Production Concept – Current Status, Challenges, Further Development; Day IV – Economy and Ecology – Perspectives.
Around 100 participants from 26 countries presented three keynote addresses, 5 invited papers, plus 24 oral presentations and 28 posters.
The various contributions in this book are ordered according to the eight sessions embedded in the symposium structure mentioned above.
THE TORONTO 2002 SUSTAINABILITY DECLARATION on Research needs for a sustainable horticultural development in the 21st century during the culminating session 8 was certainly one of the highlights of the Symposium.
The declaration is also documented in these proceedings.
The Symposium organizers gratefully acknowledge the financial and moral support from the following organizations:
Swiss Federal Research Station for Fruit-Growing, Viticulture and Horticulture (FAW), Extension Horticulture, CH-8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
Département Environnement et Agronomie, INRA, Domaine St Paul - Site Agroparc, PSH - Bât A, F-84914 Avignon Cedex 9, France
USDA ARS Plant Sciences Institute, 10300 Baltimore Ave., Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350 USA
We would also like to thank the members of the Editorial Board for their great editorial work and effort to bring this publication project to success, the keynote speakers, speakers and poster presenters for their intellectual input and for providing the essence for making this symposium and documentation possible and all other colleagues who aided in the editorial process.
Finally, last but not least, special thanks to Marianne Engeli (FAW) for her tremendous help with editing and assistance in preparing the Proceedings.
Co-conveners: Lukas Bertschinger and James D. Anderson
The papers contained in this volume of Acta Horticulturae report the proceedings of a symposium on Sustainability of Horticultural Systems in the 21st Century: Issues in Sustainability: Stewardship of Resources, Alternative Production Systems, Climate Change, and Issues Affecting Economic Sustainability.
Keynote speakers and authors of selected contributed oral and poster presentations were given the opportunity to submit a manuscript for publication.
These manuscripts were reviewed by the symposium editors and other referees.
Only those papers judged suitable for publication following the authors consideration of reviewer suggestions appear in this volume of Acta Horticulturae.
The ISHS acknowledges and appreciates the contribution of all editors and reviewers.
They have made a significant contribution to assuring the quality of this publication.
The ISHS Board of Directors