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Evolution of goat production systems in the Mediterranean basin: Between ecological intensification and ecologically intensive production systems

Dubeuf, Jean-Paul, Ruiz Morales, Francisco de Asis, Guerrero, Yolanda Mena
Small ruminant research 2018 v.163 pp. 2-9
basins, dairy goats, ecology, food industry, livestock production, production technology, rural areas, surveys, sustainable development, Europe, Mediterranean region
In Europe and in the Mediterranean basin, goats and especially dairy goats have a peculiar importance and their production systems have been deeply changed during the last 50 years. Although the goats are generally seen as environmental friendly, the goat sector is more and more questioned by the general environmental challenges faced by agriculture and livestock Production. Agro – ecology is the general movement and approach to study the application of ecological principles to the design of sustainable agro – food systems. The several forms of agro – ecology and their application in animal production are reviewed; the concepts of ecological intensification and ecologically bio diversity based animal production are mobilized to introduce the possible types of changes implemented in a diversity of situations. The integration of goat activities in agro – food industry and the social role of goats by small holders in rural areas are the two main drivers to understand what forms of agro – ecology to implement for sustainable goat systems in Europe and in the Mediterranean. After having underlined the importance of agro – ecological transition as a complex process involving environmental, technical, social and societal changes, several methodological approaches based on real situations are proposed to address this transition for goats.The conclusions of this survey insist on the importance of the participatory approach to build collectively solutions adapted to each situation. Consequently, agro – ecology could be a good driver to impulse new dynamics in the goat sectors and especially in Europe and the Mediterranean area. Several pathways could be followed with a diversity of agro – ecological profiles to favor the sustainable development of goat systems.