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Title: Making olive oil sustainable
Authors: Moreira, Francisco
Herrera, José M.
Beja, Pedro
Issue Date: 30-Aug-2019
Publisher: Science
Citation: Moreira F, Herrera JM, Beja P (2019) Making olive oil sustainable. Science 365 (6456), 873
Abstract: Mediterranean landscapes, date back at least to the ancient Greek civilizations (1) and hold cultural, scenic, and biodiversity value (2). However, as demand for olives and olive oil has increased (3), traditional groves, the least viable in economic terms, have been abandoned and production has shifted to large-scale intensive plantations to maximize yields (3–5). These vast groves use irrigation, high tree densities, agrochemicals, and mechanization (6). The resulting landscape simplification and habitat loss and degradation contribute to substantial biodiversity decline (6, 7). There are also claims that harvesting olives at night leads to mass bird mortality (8) and that the olive industry affects water, soil, and human health (5). A thorough understanding of the environmental impacts of modern olive farming is urgent to inform agricultural policies and consumers. In the European post-2020 agricultural policy proposal (9), currently under discussion, most farmers Edited by Jennifer Sills The environmental value of traditional olive groves, such as this one in Portugal, has been overlooked. LETTERS are required to comply with basic environmental standards. However, the olive sector is exempted from environmental requirements (10). This should be changed in order to promote the maintenance of traditional olive groves, limit the area occupied by continuous olive tree monocultures, and introduce environmentally friendly management practices. Because organic production labels focus mostly on fertilizers and pesticides, they do not provide enough information to consumers. To facilitate informed choices, new labels should be created. Olive oil packaging should provide consumers with details about the grove from which the product was sourced. Biodiversity-rich groves that host rare species of plants and animals could benefit from this marketing. Enhancing and highlighting the sustainability of olive farming are important not only for the environment but also for the economic revenues of olive oil producers
Type: article
Appears in Collections:MED - Publicações - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais Com Arbitragem Científica

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