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Constraints to farming in the Mediterranean Alps: Reconciling environmental and agricultural policies

Constraints to farming in the Mediterranean Alps: Reconciling environmental and agricultural policies

Land Use Policy 75: 726-733

ISSN/ISBN: 0264-8377

DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.11.047

Better aligning agriculture and environmental policies is an important issue for Mediterranean areas. Minimizing conflicts between the two sectors requires better understanding farmers' concerns. Using survey data among a sample of livestock farmers in the French Mediterranean Alps, we examine the main constraints they are confronted with. While France has adopted environmental policies aimed at the conservation of natural habitats and wildlife, which have contributed to a "rewilding" of mountains, farmers' responses suggest that the growing presence of wolves is a major concern, in addition to institutional and market-related constraints. Given that grassland changes, notably agricultural land abandonment in Mediterranean areas, is considered as problematic for its consequences on agriculture, biodiversity and landscape management, we examine whether the constraints perceived by farmers are related to land abandonment. Applying a probit regression to our survey data we show that farmers' perception of the wolf's presence is positively associated with the level of abandonment alpine grasslands. It is the only perceived constraint significantly associated with land abandonment. Our result have implications for the design of land use policies to support the permanence of mountain farming and to help livestock breeders confront their particular constraints.

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Accession: 066363518

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