Sustainability is a socially constructed concept whose meaning often depends on the context. After defining the feeding system and the meaning that can be attached to the concept of Sustainability, its application to existing systems is examined. The attributes of Sustainability are derived from an analysis of time-tested systems in Mediterranean and tropical regions. Farm organisation, animal intake and product quality are considered to mean more than mere correspondence between feed requirements and crop production patterns. The rational management of rangeland and forestry systems was taken as an example of organisation and planning of the use of renewable local resources. The multiple use of a specific feed resource and the development of mixed pasture-cropping systems, with possible inclusion of fodder trees and shrubs, were considered as examples of diversification and exploitation of local resources. The integration and fractioning of diverse feed resources and the combination of different activities in a given area, are intended to constitute a global approach to land use aimed at reducing off-farm inputs whilst enhancing natural resources and nutrient recycling. This approach should facilitate the development of mixed and diversified systems, with alternative yield objectives, low environmental impact and reduced economic hazards. Examples are reported on the intercropping of forage, food and fuel sources in the tropics, and for cereal and livestock production in the Mediterranean basin. Flexibility of ruminant production and complementarity between animal species are also described as examples of integration and multiple use of local feed resources. The discussion deals with the possible roles of fodder species and the need to combine several activities into dynamic agricultural systems. Attention is also drawn to the vital links between farmers and the wider rural community through coordinated actions that are appropriate to a mosaic of local conditions.
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|Titolo:||Sustainable feeding systems based on the use of local resources|
|Data di pubblicazione:||1996|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|