Changes in the pastoral sheep systems of semi-arid Mediterranean areas: association with common agricultural policy reform and implications for sustainability

  • Paula M. Toro-Mujica Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería Forestal, Dept. Ciencias Animales. Santiago
  • Claudio Aguilar Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería Forestal, Dept. Ciencias Animales. Santiago
  • Raúl Vera Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería Forestal, Dept. Ciencias Animales. Santiago
  • Cecilio Barba Universidad de Córdoba, Facultad de Veterinaria, Dept. Producción Animal. Campus de Rabanales, 14071 Córdoba
  • José Rivas Universidad Central de Venezuela, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinaria, Departamento de Producción Animal. Campus UCV - Maracay, 2101 Aragua
  • Antón García-Martínez Universidad de Córdoba, Facultad de Veterinaria, Dept. Producción Animal. Campus de Rabanales, 14071 Córdoba


The dynamics of sheep systems the Mediterranean region have been influenced by reforms coming from the Common Agricultural Policy, and the general economic evolution of markets. The aim of this study was the analysis of the structural changes that occurred between 1999 and 2009, and the identification of future implications for the sheep systems in Andalusia region, Spain. Analysis of the structural changes allowed the generation of strategic information, identified trends that should suggest new rural policies and changes that are likely to have social and environmental impacts, and lastly, prioritize future research. The application of multivariate methodology allowed clustering the farm population into four groups. The typology of these systems was determined by variables related to the sheep subsystem, by the set of agricultural activities, and by changes in swine husbandry, within a context of changes in land tenure and the drive for agricultural intensification. Major modifications of extant systems included a 42% reduction in the number of farms, a decrease in sheep numbers, replacement of native rangelands with improved pastures, olive trees and orchards, a reduction of traditional extensive pastoral activities, and increases in hog production in Dehesa grasslands. Given the historical economic and social importance of the sheep-cereal system, the observed substantial modifications of land use suggest a need to assess their consequences in terms of social and environmental impacts, as well as their implications for climate change.


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How to Cite
Toro-Mujica, P. M., Aguilar, C., Vera, R., Barba, C., Rivas, J., & García-Martínez, A. (2015). Changes in the pastoral sheep systems of semi-arid Mediterranean areas: association with common agricultural policy reform and implications for sustainability. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 13(2), e0102.
Agricultural economics