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An approach for assessing the ecological intensification of livestock systems

Abstract : Promoting the development of farming systems towards more sustainable forms, in particular maintaining production without harming the environment, means being able to analyse these systems in their complexity and dynamic, at the same time providing the means to assess their ecological intensification. The approaches to these livestock systems have to be adapted to this aim. This is what we have done as part of a study on the diversity of goat farming systems (GFS) in Livradois-Forez, a small region of fairly low mountains in France. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 farmers, a sample selected to cover the diversity of livestock forms in this territory. We analysed the operation of livestock systems, looking at the system configurations (dimensions, buildings and equipment, labour force, combinations of farming activities, production project) and the combination of management practices (crops, herds and valorisation of products). We also analysed the place of the goat system within the family farm's long term trajectory. To assess the ecological intensification in GFS, we mobilized the five agroecology principles for the design of sustainable livestock systems proposed by Dumont et al. (2013): (i) adopting management practices aimed at improving animal health, (ii) decreasing inputs for production, (iii) decreasing pollution by optimizing the metabolic functioning of the farming system, (iv) enhancing diversity within animal production systems to strengthen their resilience and (v) preserving biological diversity in agro-ecosystems by adapting management practices. We present this approach and illustrate its application to our case study. We show the interest of understanding the diversity of livestock forms and identify what promotes or limits the development of these systems into more ecologically-intensive forms. '
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Ludmila Gomes, Jean-Yves Pailleux, Benoit Dedieu, Regina Claudete, Sylvie Cournut. An approach for assessing the ecological intensification of livestock systems. International farming systems association, Apr 2014, berlin, Germany. ⟨hal-02083429⟩



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