Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 2199–2216 | Cite as

Sustainable cropping pattern in North Iran: application of fuzzy goal programming

  • Ramtin Joolaie
  • Ahmad Abedi Sarvestani
  • Fatemeh Taheri
  • Steven Van Passel
  • Hossein Azadi


Due to the important role that the application of mathematical programming models have in determining optimal cropping patterns, this research presents a sustainable cropping pattern that considers selected economic, environmental, and social goals together. Using a random sampling method, a sample size of 168 farmers was selected in the Sari County, Iran. Our results showed that economic, self-sufficiency, environmental, and social goals have a distinctly different impact on cropping pattern performance. Compared to the current cropping pattern, the gross margins for economic and social goals increased by nearly 11 and 2 %, respectively, and the gross margins for self-sufficiency and environmental goals decreased by nearly 2 and 36 %. Interestingly, it has been found that the performance of the current cropping pattern has an average positive impact of 6 % if economic, self-sufficiency, environmental, and social (employment) goals are realized simultaneously.


Sustainable agriculture Environmental development Crop planning Fuzzy sets 



The authors wish to thank Ms. Bethany Gardner from the Department of Linguistics, the State University of New York at Binghamton, for her kind help in improving the English of this text.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramtin Joolaie
    • 1
  • Ahmad Abedi Sarvestani
    • 2
  • Fatemeh Taheri
    • 3
  • Steven Van Passel
    • 4
    • 5
  • Hossein Azadi
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural EconomicsGorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural ResourcesGorganIran
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Extension and EducationGorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural ResourcesGorganIran
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural Extension and EducationKhuzestan Ramin Agricultural and Natural Resources UniversityMollasaniIran
  4. 4.Department of Engineering ManagementUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  5. 5.Centre for Environmental SciencesHasselt UniversityHasseltBelgium
  6. 6.Economics and Rural DevelopmentUniversity of LiègeLiègeBelgium
  7. 7.Department of GeographyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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