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Title: Contribution of organic farming to increase sustainability of Mediterranean small ruminants livestock systems
Authors: Ronchi, Bruno
Nardone, Alessandro
Keywords: Small ruminants;Geographic information systems;Helminths;Bioactive forages;Phytotherapy;Sustainable land use;Organic production
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: Elsevier
Source: Ronchi, B., Nardone, A. 2003. Contribution of organic farming to increase sustainability of Mediterranean small ruminants livestock systems. "Livestock Production Science" 80:17-31
The aim of the paper is to evaluate the feasibility and constraints of organic farming to increase the sustainability of
Mediterranean small ruminant livestock systems. The paper analyzes the factors affecting sustainability of small ruminant
livestock systems in the Mediterranean basin, such as seasonal forage availability or suboptimal pasture utilisation due to
overgrazing but also the factor of undergrazing. The paper considers how the application of practices of organic farming may
contribute to promoting sustainable land use and improving environment conservation, animal welfare, and product quality.
Also the prospects of new information-based technologies, like geographic information systems and global positioning
systems, to improve sustainability are presented. A model of pasture-based dairy sheep production system is proposed, with
special emphasis on the organisation of a farm forage system to meet animal nutritional requirement. Some options for an
integrated strategy for the control of parasitic disease in small ruminant production systems are discussed. These are based
on a combination of general prevention methods (i.e. risk control and identification), grazing management (i.e.
multifunctional grassland management), nonchemical treatments (i.e. homeopathic herbal preparations) and novel approaches
(i.e. biological control and bioactive forages). Comparative effects of phytotherapy and conventional treatment on dairy
sheep helminthic disease and on metabolic status and animal welfare are presented.
The prospects of organic farming are of particular interest for the less favoured Mediterranean areas, where it may
contribute to the safeguard of agricultural functions, like care and preservation of landscape, and safeguarding of rural
villages with positive effects on the quality of life in rural communities. Some activities would be particularly appropriate in
natural parks, where small ruminants and other domestic animals interact with wildlife and where biodiversity must be
For positive results a new collaborative decision-making process is required between rural and urban communities,
businesses and government. In addition, strong supports from scientific research and the extension services are needed to
correct and fully utilize new information technologies to exploit the magnitude and potential of organic farming for
enhancement of sustainable small ruminant production systems in the Mediterranean region.
L’articolo è disponibile sul sito dell’editore
ISSN: 0301-6226
Appears in Collections:DiPA - Archivio della produzione scientifica

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