Implementing the livelihood resilience framework: An indicator-based model for assessing mountain pastoral farming systems
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Olaizola, Ana María
Ongoing decreases in family farms and livestock numbers in European mountain areas are linked to multiple interconnected challenges. The continuity of such farms concerns society at large since they also act as landscape stewards, and their management influences the provision of ecosystem services. The livelihood resilience lens provides a means of examining how farm households respond and build their capacity to persist, to adapt to changes and shocks, and eventually transform what is understood as farming. While an increasing number of studies address livelihood resilience in different parts of the world, its link with livelihood strategies and how these enhance or erode livelihood resilience dimensions is still missing. OBJECTIVE: We built and applied an indicator-based framework to characterize the livelihood strategies of mountain livestock farming households in the Catalan Pyrenees (Spain) considering local historical trends, to assess how these strategies contribute to their adaptive capacity. METHODS: We combined sustainable rural livelihoods and livelihood resilience frameworks and operationalized them to: group farm households with similar livelihood strategies based on their income-generating activities; asses the influence of capital assets and context on the adoption of strategies; and relate these strategies with their performance in three dimensions of adaptive capacity, namely capacity for learning and adaptation, self-organization, and diversity. Information was gathered surveying a sample of 103 farm households. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: We identified five livelihood strategies showing different degrees of adaptive capacity. Farm households either intensified production (21.3% of the sample) or pursued various diversification pathways based on additional off-farm work (28.6%), rural-tourism activities (22.7%), or added-value production (13.3%). Pensioners (11.8%) had a low endowment of assets and presented the lowest estimates in several dimensions of adaptive capacity. In contrast, diversification into rural tourism scored higher in adaptive capacity, showing greater proactive capacity, farmer organization, and multiple income sources. SIGNIFICANCE: We explored the multidimensional issues that influence and are influenced by the livelihood strategies and their adaptive capacity at the farm household level. Our work highlights the relevance of including income-generating activities in addition to structural, technical, and socioeconomic variables in characterizing farming systems. It demonstrates the role of farmer involvement in formal and informal social cooperation networks in the sustainability and adaptive capacity of their households. To be successful, diversification strategies may require certain prerequisites in the farms, while strategies based on off-farm activities, although they support improved financial performance of the farm household, could also contribute to the displacement of agriculture from mountain areas.
630 - Forestry
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Lecegui, Antonio, Ana María Olaizola, Feliu López-i-Gelats, and Elsa Varela. 2022. "Implementing The Livelihood Resilience Framework: An Indicator-Based Model For Assessing Mountain Pastoral Farming Systems". Agricultural Systems 199: 103405. doi:10.1016/j.agsy.2022.103405.
Grant agreement number
INIA/Programa Estatal de I+D+I orientada a los retos de la sociedad/PCIN2017-051/ES/PASTORES, SERVICIOS ECOSISTEMICOS Y SOCIEDAD COMO ELEMENTOS CLAVE DE LOS SISTEMAS PASTORALES DEL MEDITERRANEO/PACTORES
INIA/Programa Estatal de I+D+I orientada a los retos de la sociedad/RTA2017-00036-C03-01/ES/Silvopastoralismo como estrategia de adaptación para un desarrollo rural integrado en el Mediterraneo/
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