Recent Land Abandonment Drivers in the Agro-Pastoral Areas of Apulia


Apulia is one of the most important agricultural regions in Italy, and its primary sector is the repository of important historic and cultural heritage. However, at present, in particular in the inner agro pastoral areas of the Murgia upland and the Gargano promontory, two serious threats risk to generate irreversible damages to local population, ecosystems and economic sector. The first one concerns the spread of paratubercolosis in semi-extensive dairy sheep and goat farms, with a positivity in the flocks of 60.5% and a seroprevalence of 3.0% for sheep and 14.5% for goats, with peaks of 50%. In economic terms, the uninfected farms had a mean profit efficiency of 84%, which dropped to 64% in the presence of this bacterium that reduces the productivity of feeding, veterinary services and labour. The second problem concerns the wine sector in the northern Apulia, and regards the greater profitability of non-autochthone varieties in comparison with typical ones, in intensive and semiextensive cultivation systems. This phenomenon is causing an intensification of wine growing also in the areas next to the agro-pastoral and inner territories of the Murgia highland, with significant pressure on its fragile ecosystems. These recent findings should be properly considered by decision makers in order to plan strategies for the restoration of more sustainable dairy and wine-growing sectors in these areas, so helping to increase farmers' profits, improve environmental conditions for the community and ensure higher food quality, security and safety for consumers.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i9788883051678p173

Keywords: Land abandonment; Paratubercolosis; Vine landraces; Apulia

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