BIODIVERSITY INTEGRATION STRATEGIES IN ITALIAN OLIVE FARMING. A comparison of public and private governance strategies
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Agriculture is one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss as a result of the intensification of cultivation practices and the transformation of natural habitats into farmed areas. Intensified production achieved through the use of agrochemicals has had a detrimental effect on ground flora and insect population, reducing their numbers and diversification, which in turn has led to a reduction of food accessible to mammals, reptiles and birds and, thus, has had a negative impact on habitats and wildlife present on the cultivated land. This trend has also been observed in Italian olive production. Olive culture is of particular interest considering it is home of biodiversity rich habitats when plants are cultivated with traditional methods. Further, it accounts for the third largest land use in Italian agriculture. One of the tools available to governments in order to reduce negative impacts is to integrate environmental concerns into agricultural policies. However, top-down governance does not portray the full spectrum of tools implemented in order to steer producers towards more environmentally sounds practices. Different types of strategies ranging from economical to informational and organizational have been implemented and other actors, such as retailers, consumers or non-governmental organizations, have developed different tools in this regard. The goal of this research will be to compare different biodiversity integration strategies and evaluate their contribution to reducing the use of agrochemicals that have proven to have a negative impact on biodiversity.