& Guest experts
Mediterranean agricultural systems present a high level of complexity and high environmental and socio-economic vulnerability due to the particular landscapes mosaic and morphological and climatic factors. Within this framework, I have worked on several international projects aimed at characterizing the current agricultural dynamics acting at different scales (from the farm to the whole basin) and their determinants. Among the processes analyzed, a particular focus has been put on the trajectories of farming systems towards sustainable intensification, which can be defined as an increasing or maintaining of agricultural production, minimizing negative impacts on the environment and improving the contribution to sustainable development. In this context, the explored research questions are:
(i) how to assess the sustainable intensification of land systems?
(ii) What are the factors that play the most important role in this assessment?
(iii) What are the drivers and triggers of the trajectories at the landscape scale?
This research framework can provide information for spatial planning and especially for understanding processes within local agriculture. In addition, increasing population density implies an increase in the demand for natural resources and the differentiation of potential landscape functions. About 40% of the Mediterranean coastal zone is artificialized, mainly due to dispersed residential urbanization. Urban sprawl has gradually increased in all European countries since the 1970s, especially to the detriment of agricultural areas, with a progressive fragmentation of agriculture. Within this framework,
(1) estimating agricultural potential in non-urbanized spaces,
(2) analyzing potential conflicts between land uses, and
(3) understanding the spatial configurations that favor the persistence of productive and sustainable agriculture, are important research questions and topics of interest in support of public policy.