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Sustainability of agro-pastoralist systems undergoing global changes as reflected by farmers’ perception and value chain analysis : a Lebanese case-study

Abstract : Global change is a complex process encompassing environmental, climatic, social, economic, cultural and political changes. It has always affected agro-pastoral systems worldwide and compromised their sustainability resulting in tremendous changes of the pastoral systems including a decline in rangeland resources and the number of herds, sedentarism trends, diversification of livelihoods and even abandon of farming activities.Based on the hypothesis that agro-pastoralists in contrasted areas of the world face similar challenges and share same concerns but their adaptive strategies are affected by their local context which either enhances or weakens their sustainability, this research project aims at assessing the sustainability of agro-pastoral systems in Lebanon which are undergoing global forces of changes.First, the challenges affecting the sustainability of agro-pastoral systems in Lebanon have been identified through a review of the literature on pasture and land use in Lebanon. Six main challenges have been identified: i) Lack of policies and laws related to pastoralism and land tenure; ii) Urbanization and rural migration; iii) Encroachment by agriculture; iv) Deforestation and overgrazing; v) Lack of technical skills and data for range management; and vi) Climate variability.Second, the perception of change of small ruminant farmers in the West Bekaa of Lebanon has been assessed and their adaptation strategies identified. The constraints perceived by the farmers varied based on the production system they belonged to and were mainly related to pasture access and quality, market and political uncertainties, climate variability, on-farm socio-economic conditions and animal health. In the absence of government support, farmers from all systems developed short-term adaptive strategies involving more time spent on pastures, more feed supplementation and a decrease in herd size. Moreover, herd movement was limited to the pastures around the villages hence evincing the shift to sedentarism.Thirdly, the sustainability of agro-pastoral systems in the West Bekaa and Chouf was evaluated through the analysis of the value chain of the traditional cheese “kishk” typically prepared with goat milk. Kishk production has been maintained by rural women and kishk proved to be a resilient product despite the changes in wheat varieties and fluctuations in the source and quantity of milk. Small ruminant systems were found to be more resilient than wheat production systems.Fourthly, the dairy bovine systems in the West Bekaa and Chouf-Aley were identified using a system typology, in an attempt to present them as a model for intensification for some agro-pastoralists particularly in feed optimization, use of appropriate technologies, diversification of activities and market access. The dairy bovine system provided an insight for the intensification of the small ruminant sector in Lebanon for those who can afford it.At last, a comparative analysis was done between the Lebanese case-study and seven short movies filmed in contrasted areas of rangelands (Tibetan Plateau, Canadian Great Prairie, Egyptian Bedouin area, Senegalese Sahel, Uruguayan Pampa, Brazilian Serra Gaucha and French Provence). The gaps and challenges reported in the seven movies were found comparable to those identified in Lebanon specifically in regard to climate variability and the need for specific policies that regulate the use of rangelands and valorize their diversity.Agro-pastoralists in Lebanon and around the world are facing similar forces of change namely climate variability, inadequacy of rangeland policies and the uncertain future of youth. The implementation of specific rangeland policies integrating the perception of agro-pastoralists ensures the efficiency of these policies and the sustainability of traditional pastoral systems.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 27, 2020 - 5:36:08 PM
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Mabelle Chedid. Sustainability of agro-pastoralist systems undergoing global changes as reflected by farmers’ perception and value chain analysis : a Lebanese case-study. Agronomy. Institut agronomique, vétérinaire et forestier de France, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019IAVF0016⟩. ⟨tel-02522019⟩



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