The Project


In the last decade, traditional agri-food and agroforestry systems are receiving increasing attention thanks to their multifunctional role and as a valid alternative to agricultural models based on maximizing productivity. These traditional systems, developed through the centuries by local communities, actively support the livelihood of local farmers representing examples and solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Their importance is recognized by the establishment of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Programme by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), whose aim is to identify and preserve these systems, with their landscape, agro-biodiversity, traditional knowledge, and associated culture, applying dynamic conservation strategies to promote sustainable development with direct and indirect benefits for the local communities.

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Project summary

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Work packages

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Project partners

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The GIAHS Programme


Working Hypothesis

The main hypothesis is that traditional agri-food and agroforestry systems developed over the centuries by local communities to adapt to various environmental conditions are more resilient towards possible environmental and socio-economic shocks with respect to modern and intensive food systems. The selected study areas are part of the FAO Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Programme and are all examples of systems developed to adapt to difficult environments: dry and hot climates, water scarcity, steep slopes. These systems, despite socio-environmental changes, are still fundamental for the livelihood and food security of local communities, and they can offer effective solutions and strategies to be replicated in other traditional agri-food and agroforestry systems for the mitigation and adaptation to socio-environmental shocks.


Main project objectives are:

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    Assessment of socio-environmental shocks and vulnerabilities in three Mediterranean agri-food and agroforestry heritage systems (Italy, Morocco, Algeria) included in the FAO GIAHS Programme.

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    Identify the key resilience and adaptation factors in the three sites from technical, biodiversity, and socio-economic perspectives.

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    Contribute to local inclusive and sustainable development of agri-food value chains and empower their resilience to potential shocks while preserving the local cultural and ecological heritages.

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    Identify and introduce innovative solutions, best practices and strategies for the resilience and adaptation to system shocks at local level that can be replicated in other similar Mediterranean agri-food and agroforestry systems.

Partner Institutions