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In the last fifty years, the rural landscape of vast areas, historically modelled by livestock farming, has experienced radical changes. The marginalisation of traditional farming systems resulted in a shift towards intensive systems in the more favourable areas, and in the abandoning of farming in the less favourable areas. Consequences of these trends are numerous: intensification and abandoning concurred in determining the disappearance of traditional architectural styles and in disrupting the historical links between local landscape, way of farming, and variety of products; intensification of farming caused local excesses of nutrients releases and/or land degradation; abandoning has permitted an extensive natural reforestation, which in turn has greatly modified the aesthetic value and biodiversity richness of landscape. Research for a sustainable “livestock farming landscape” will need the ability to integrate a systemic and geographic description of the interactions of farming systems with landscape quality and biodiversity with the definition of consequent technologies and farm management options.
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