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Food Consumption Patterns and Sustainable Natural Resources Management in the Mediterranean Region

Sustainability of food systems and diets is not simply related to health concerns as it also involves environmental impacts. In fact, diets are major players in biodiversity erosion, natural resources degradation, climate change, etc.. The paper aims at analysing the main environmental impacts of the Mediterranean food consumption patterns on land and water resources and biodiversity. It provides a review on water and land resources and biodiversity in the Mediterranean and an analysis of the livestock sector impacts on ecosystem services. The most recent FAO food consumption statistics and standard impact data from different sources (e.g., Water Footprint Network; Mekonnen & Hoekstra, 2010; Ewing et al., 2010) were used to calculate and discuss environmental impacts, i.e., water, carbon and ecological footprints. Mediterranean diets promote biodiversity use, conservation and sustainable natural resources management. They are more respectful of ecosystems and have lower environmental impacts than Northern Europe and American diets.
Roberto Capone, Nicola Lamaddalena, Lamberto Lamberti, Abderraouf Elferchichi and Hamid El Bilali
Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (MAI-B), International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies
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Food & Agriculture
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