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The Five Domains

Over the course of extensive discussions with scientists and a review of the literature, various dimensions of sustainability have emerged. These dimensions are classified into five domains: productivity, economic, environment, human condition and social. Learn more about these classifications.

  • Productivity

    Increasing productivity is the essential characteristic of intensification, with the goal of increasing output per unit input per unit time (season or year). 

  • Economic

    This domain focuses on issues directly related to the profitability of agricultural activities and returns to factors of production. 

  • Environmental

    This domain focuses on the natural resource base that supports agriculture (e.g., soil, water), the environmental services directly affected by agricultural practices (e.g., habitat, water-holding capacity), and the level of pollution resulting from agriculture (e.g., pesticides, greenhouse gases).

  • Human

    This domain pertains to the individual or household, including nutrition status, food security, and capacity to learn and adapt. These indicators affect an individual and do not require social interaction or interpersonal relationships. 

  • Social

    This domain focuses on social interactions: equitable relationships across gender within the household, equitable relationships across social groups in a community or landscape, the level of collective action, and the ability to resolve conflicts related to agriculture and natural resource management.