Application of economic and ecological indicators in farm household and regional analysis: introducing some approaches and insights

J.W.A. Langeveld, A. Verhagen, H. Hengsdijk, M.C. Rufino, R. Ruben, K.E. Giller, D.M. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademic


The paper presents two approaches that use economic and ecological indicators to evaluate farm (household) performance. NUPFRA mainly focuses on ecological performance, using indicators such as nitrogen surplus, groundwater nitrate concentration and residual mineral soil nitrogen, and economic indicators calculating farm income or additional costs made for improvement of the system. It is applied in research projects aiming at improved nitrogen (N) management and reduced environmental stress. Recently, EPHOS was developed to assess economic and environmental performance of farm households in tropical areas, characterizing farm activity diversification and integration. This approach can be used to identify options for improvement in nutrient (N) and carbon management or food availability. Advantages of both approaches include their flexibility and comprehensiveness, providing links to farmers or farm households as well as researchers and policy analysts. They describe compartments, internal and external flows and indicators in an integrative, multi-disciplinary assessment of farm (household) performance, providing results to analytical, policy oriented procedures. Major differences exist in the use of existing data (EPHOS) versus generation of new data (NUPFRA), static (EPHOS) versus sequential evaluation (NUPFRA), inclusion of farm households (only in EPHOS), involvement of farmers and stakeholders (only in NUPFRA), and inclusion of additional process research (only NUPFRA). Major limitations are data intensity (especially NUPFRA) and expertise requirements, while NUPFRA does not allow statistical analyses due to lack of replications and EPHOS gives no representation of dynamic (soil) processes, or of farm households¿ abilities to adjust. Both approaches are useful to design, apply and evaluate changes in complex systems and can be applied at farm as well as regional level, facilitating meta analysis of actual and future systems, including a range of disciplines, using relatively simple indicators that appeal to farmers, advisors, researchers and policy makers, thus allowing exchanges of ideas and insights during a process of strategic cooperation
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventResultats de recherches en partenariat avec cinq regions' -
Duration: 9 Mar 200511 Mar 2005


ConferenceResultats de recherches en partenariat avec cinq regions'


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