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PROJECT

Context

Agro-pastoral systems (APS) are ubiquitous in the Mediterranean region, supporting thriving communities through the production of high-quality protein from human-inedible forage with minimal environmental impact.
APS also provide numerous services including biodiversity conservation in high nature value (HNV) farming sites, recreational opportunities, and unique geo-cultural identities, while simultaneously conferring benefits to regional ecosystems through wildfire prevention or grassland preservation.

Despite increasing demand for the varied and valuable societal benefits and ecosystem services (ES) provided by APS throughout the Mediterranean, the livelihoods of pastoral actors and the viability of APS in general are under threat, with major challenges being posed by the changing climate and misleading representation of APS in society and policy.

Working Hypothesis

The working hypothesis of PACTORES is that narratives that marginalize APS (as marginal societies with low productivity and a damaging ecological footprint) persist and permeate policy, preventing recognition of their true contributions to social welfare.

Such issues are limiting the ability of APS to flourish and reach their full potential in providing highly demanded ecosystem goods and services in a sustainable manner.

This leads us to consider what socio-political and economic changes will be required in order to enhance the prosperity of agro-pastoral communities in the Mediterranean.

Objectives

PACTORES aims to examine the (mis/)matches between pastoral communities and social expectations, using a multi-disciplinary approach to view Mediterranean APS as complex socio-ecological systems. This aim is carried out via two main objectives:

1) Identification of the main bottlenecks hindering the viability of agro-pastoral communities, with a focus on best practice in terms of environmental, socio-economic, and policy considerations
2) The conveyance of information to key audiences on the actual capacity of Mediterranean APS to provide numerous societal benefits

Partner Institutions

CREDA

CREDA (Center for Agro-food Economy and Development)

Spain

Elsa Varela
elsa.varela
@upc.edu

CIHEAM-Bari

CIHEAM (International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies)

Italy

Roberto Capone
capone@iamb.it

Uvic

University of Vic

Spain

Marta Guadalupe Rivera Farré
martaguadalupe.
rivera@uvic.cat

AUTH

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Greece

Maria Karatassiou
karatass
@for.auth.gr

UNIVPM

Polytechnic University Marche

Italy

Paride D’Ottavio
p.dottavio
@univpm.it

ISPAAM

Institute for the Animal Production System in the Mediterranean Environment / National Research Council

Italy

Antonello Franca
a.franca
@cspm.ss.cnr.it

IRA

Arid Regions Institute

Tunisia

Mohamed Tarhouni
medhtarhouni
@yahoo.fr

INRAA

Algerian National Agronomic Institute

Algeria

Abbas Khaled
abbaskhal
@yahoo.fr

UFA

Sétif University

Algeria

Amar Mebarkia
mebarkia.mokrane
@gmail.com

SDU

Suleiman University

Turkey

Ahmet Tolunay
ahmettolunay
@sdu.edu.tr

DESCRIPTION AND
OVERALL APPROACH

Approach

PACTORES adopts a socio-ecological systems (SES) approach to examine Mediterranean APS, considering that people and nature interact reciprocally through complex feedback loops.

The project will thus consider both ecological and human components, integrating ecological and social sciences to enhance the understanding of APS in the Mediterranean.

Description

The PACTORES project is a collaboration across an interdisciplinary consortium, with 10 research centres working collectively on 7 case studies spanning 6 countries around the Mediterranean basin. The international and cross-disciplinary nature of the investigation will not only benefit from a broad perspective and expertise, but will further promote communication between participating countries and support the development of a coherent scientific and policy framework.

Effective interactions between socio-political, economic, and environmental realms will be a key strength of the project. Applying a combination of state-of-the-art and conventional tools including survey-based qualitative and quantitative approaches, the complex and multifunctional nature of Mediterranean APS will be elucidated through the case studies.

A core component of the project is the presentation of key results to relevant stakeholders and parts of society, with a highly participatory component. Intertwined with this goal is the promotion of networking among actors and the establishment of a common framework for current and future collaborations.

Policy and Governance Framework

Policy and Governance Framework

PACTORES will look at interactions between social (pastoral communities and society at large) and ecological dimensions of the system. The broader governance and policy structure plays a central role in articulating values and therefore informing and regulating human interaction with the environment.

Folke et al., 2006

A conceptual framework for the analysis of linked social–ecological systems (SES). The focus is on the dynamics of linkages between ecosystems, knowledge (as reflected in the management practice), and institutions, and how to navigate these dynamics for better resilience and adaptive capacity.

WHERE / CASE STUDIES

The project will collect data from 7 case studies in 6 different countries, each presenting a unique set of challenges arising from the social, cultural, economic, and political landscape of the region. A goal will be to identify common themes affecting APS throughout the Mediterranean, and to use data from the case studies to suggest a policy framework.