Examining the role of organic production schemes in Mediterranean pastoralism

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Abstract

Mediterranean pastoralism is currently being exposed to multiple uncertainties. The emergence of organic production schemes has brought new opportunities for grazing livestock systems for three main reasons: (1) these regions present high risk of farming abandonment and the conversion of their livestock farming to organic production would definitively increase their economic viability; (2) the pasture-based farming systems practiced show excellent conditions to convert into organic production due to numerous similarities between conventional and organic practices; and (3) increasing evidence and voices are highlighting the potential of organic production to enhance rural development in marginal regions. Considering both the potential of the adoption of organic production to empower the traditional, pasture-based, low-impact livestock systems and the existing inconsistencies prevailing in the organic sector, a question arises: how effective is organic production in securing the sustainability of Mediterranean pastoralism? The objective here is twofold: identifying the main typologies of organic cattle farms in a particular region of Mediterranean Spain (Catalonia) and examining the implications of the adoption of organic production for the different groups of farms described. To do so, semi-structured interviews with organic cattle farmers were conducted and a combination of principal component analysis and cluster analysis was implemented. The investigation reveals that multiple expectations coexist among organic cattle farmers concerning their participation in organic production schemes. These dissimilar expectations are largely driven by the different access to pastoral factors of production identified among the farms, as well as their likelihood for generational succession.

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López-i-Gelats, F., & Filella, J. B. (2020). Examining the role of organic production schemes in Mediterranean pastoralism. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 22(6), 5771–5792. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-019-00450-0

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