Farmer's perceptions of ecosystem services of agricultural landscapes: are they the bad or the good guys?

Contributing to the transition towards sustainable agriculture and food systems.

Agriculture land covers almost half of the European territory and is a significant contributor to provisioning services such as food, fibre and energy. The agrifood sector faces a growing demand to provide goods for a growing human population while minimising land degradation and biodiversity loss. The benefits that these systems provide are of considerable value. However, the idea that agriculture is associated with high pollution levels and impacts on natural resources is still present.

Ecosystem services are diverse (provisioning, supporting, regulating and cultural), but when agriculture is considered, the focus seems to be on benefits linked exclusively to production. In this context, it is essential to understand what farmers do think about the effects of their activities and how they perceive the services provided by agricultural systems. This project aims to achieve a more integrated perspective by studying farmers’ perceptions of ecosystem services. Farmers are responsible for managing agrosystems, and their actions influence the sustainability of these landscapes and their capacity in providing multiple services. 

This approach includes analysing farmers’ relationship to the landscape, their agricultural practices, and willingness towards sustainability.

By studying the farmers’ perceptions, is expected to:

– Characterise farmers’ profile and agricultural type;

– Analyse land management practices;

– Understand farmers’ perceptions regarding the services provided by agriculture;

– Know their perceptions towards sustainability, biodiversity conservation and valorisation of endogenous resources in their region.

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