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Agricultural management, livestock and food security

Torquebiau E. (ed.), Soussana J.F. (ed.). 2016. In : Thiébault S. (ed.), Moatti Jean-Paul (ed.). The Mediterranean region under climate change: a scientific update. Marseille : IRD, AllEnvi, p. 455-459.

Over the centuries, farmers from the countries bordering the Mediterranean have developed a variety of agricultural practices, providing a wide array of commodities that have made the Mediterranean diet world famous. However, climate change projections reveal that some of these practices are at risk because of the expected drier and hotter conditions coupled with soil and water constraints, as well as a higher fire frequency threat. Nevertheless, adapting to climate hazards has long been part of farming practice in this area. The growing of pulses or other drought-tolerant crops (olives, grapes, almonds, etc.), transhumance and the use of rangelands or tree fodder by livestock, as well as water harvesting techniques, are among some of the age-old solutions to erratic rainfall or hot summers. In this chapter, we highlight some of the challenges facing agriculture in the Mediterranean and provide a series of examples of how agricultural and livestock management can be better adapted to climate change. Reliable metrics are necessary to enable the impact of climate change to be assessed and targeted agricultural policies to be designed. Long-term environmental observatories are essential to improve land management in the context of global change. Modelling the projected effects of current climatic trends shows that regional agricultural import dependence will increase as the impacts of climate change become more severe. Small ruminants (sheep, goats) have a good adaptation potential and can play a food security net role under climate change with a view to responding to the local food demand that emerges with new life styles. Local small ruminant breeds are adapted to harsh environments but this unique genetic heritage is now endangered. Perennial forage grasses are an alternative to cereals due to lower input requirement, year-round soil cover and optimal use of water. Mediterranean fruit trees, although well adapted, face increases in temperature and soil salinity as well as decreases in water availability. They will require improvements such as selection of early flowering varieties (olive), assessment of best pollinating conditions (figs) and salt tolerant rootstock (citrus). (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : zone méditerranéenne; olea europaea; ficus carica; citrus; adaptabilité; arbre fruitier; choix des espèces; Élevage; utilisation des terres; gestion des ressources naturelles; sécurité alimentaire; sécheresse; adaptation aux changements climatiques; pratique culturale; système agropastoral

Thématique : Systèmes et modes de culture; Météorologie et climatologie; Ecologie végétale

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