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Applying the ecosystem services framework to pasture-based livestock farming systems in Europe

  • T. Rodríguez-Ortega (a1), E. Oteros-Rozas (a2) (a3), R. Ripoll-Bosch (a1) (a4), M. Tichit (a5) (a6), B. Martín-López (a3) and A. Bernués (a7)...

Abstract

The concept of ‘Ecosystem Services’ (ES) focuses on the linkages between ecosystems, including agroecosystems, and human well-being, referring to all the benefits, direct and indirect, that people obtain from ecosystems. In this paper, we review the application of the ES framework to pasture-based livestock farming systems, which allows (1) regulating, supporting and cultural ES to be integrated at the same level with provisioning ES, and (2) the multiple trade-offs and synergies that exist among ES to be considered. Research on livestock farming has focused mostly on provisioning ES (meat, milk and fibre production), despite the fact that provisioning ES strongly depends on regulating and supporting ES for their existence. We first present an inventory of the non-provisioning ES (regulating, supporting and cultural) provided by pasture-based livestock systems in Europe. Next, we review the trade-offs between provisioning and non-provisioning ES at multiple scales and present an overview of the methodologies for assessing biophysical trade-offs. Third, we present non-biophysical (economical and socio-cultural) methodologies and applications for ES valuation. We conclude with some recommendations for policy design.

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