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The future of olive plantation systems on sloping and mountainous land: Scenarios for production and natural resource conservation

Since Roman times, the olive orchards on sloping and mountainous land in Southern Europe have formed a major source of income and employment, with the production systems being economically and environmentally sustainable. This situation has now been disturbed by factors such as migration, competition from intensive lowland production and from non-European Union countries. This project will undertake a thorough analysis of production, ecological and socio-economic aspects of actual production systems, and of alternative future scenarios for these systems, with the ultimate aim of improving the quality of life of the rural population and the utilisation of natural resources in these areas. The research will concentrate on four research areas, one in each of the four main olive producer countries in Europe.

The project will contribute to an improvement in the quality of life of the rural population and the utilisation of the natural resources (land and water) in the sloping and mountainous areas of Southern Europe currently used for olive orchards. The project will develop future scenarios for these olive production systems on sloping and mountainous land (SMOPS) with end users, and achieve clear recommendations for land users and policy-makers. The project has six work packages focusing on inventory, land and water resources, improved production systems, socio-economics and policies, scenarios and end user recommendations.

By the end of the first year, SMOPS had been classified, according to their functions (production, ecological and socio-economic). At the end of the second year, erosion and water balance studies had been evaluated. During the third year, an overview of marketing and processing was done and the results of the agro-socio-economic survey produced. The actual policies were analysed and recommendations made for support policies for different farm types. In the final month, a seminar took place and the project findings were published with recommendations for end-users.


Scientist responsible for the project

Nieuwe Kanaal 11
6709 PA Wageningen
Netherlands (The) - NL

Phone: +31 3174 82446
Fax: +31 3174 86103


Project ID QLRT-2001-01841
Organisation Wageningen University
Area 5.5
Start date 01 January 2003
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 1 795 000 €
Total EC contribution   1 500 000 €
Status Completed
Web address of the project

The partners

  • Direccion General deInvestigacion y Formacion Agraria y Pesquera - Junta de Andalucia, Spain - ES
  • Dipartimento di Produzione Vegetal - Universita Degli Studi della Basilicata , Italy - IT

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