New original article on animal genetic resources

Posted on 2023-09-06

Is the ecosystem services concept relevant to capture the multiple benefits from farming systems using livestock biodiversity? A framework proposal

Local breeds are key components of livestock farming systems. They are part of livestock biodiversity and this diversity has been threatened since the second half of the 20th century by their replacement with animals from specialized breeds. The multiple benefits of farming systems using local breeds – provision of goods, landscape and environmental management, and uses related to cultural and heritage dimensions – have long been recognized and used to argue for their conservation. However, the notion of ecosystem services is rarely used to analyze those benefits. This article presents a qualitative approach to the provision of ecosystem services by farming systems that use livestock biodiversity. Based on diverse case studies of breeds from several species, we propose an analytical framework that accounts for how a service is qualified, who is concerned by the services identified, the role of the breed in the process of service provision, and interactions between services. Finally, the framework considers the links between the provision of services and the management of the breeds. We discuss to what extent the notion of ecosystem services is useful in dealing with the multiple benefits from farming systems using local breeds.

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