Publications (FIS)


Developing Biodiversity-Based Agriculture with Legume Cropping Systems in the Mediterranean Basin

authored by
Federico Martinelli, Anna Lena Vollheyde, Miguel A. Cebrián-Piqueras, Christina von Haaren, Elisa Lorenzetti, Paolo Barberi, Francesco Loreto, Anna Rosa Piergiovanni, Valkov Vladimir Totev, Alberico Bedini, Roberto Kron Morelli, Nourredine Yahia, Meriem Amina Rezki, Sarah Ouslim, F. Z. Fyad-Lameche, Abdelkader Bekki, Sanja Sikora, Dulce Rodríguez-Navarro, María Camacho, Rania Nabbout, Rola Amil, Darine Trabelsi, Derya Yucel, Sanaz Yousefi

Environmental degradation and the decrease of ecosystem service provision are currently of major concern, with current agricultural systems being a major driver. To meet our future environmental and sustainability targets a transformation of the agro-food systems and current agricultural value chain are crucial. One approach to redesign farming systems is the concept of biodiversity-based agriculture (BBA) which relies on sustainable diversification of biological components and their natural interactions in farming systems to maximize fertility, productivity, and resilience to external perturbations. Despite minimizing anthropogenic inputs, BBA is not yet able to meet all beneficial environmental objectives. BBA applied in the Mediterranean basin requires urgent innovation in approaches, methodologies, and models for small-holder traditional farming systems to ensure a stable provision of ecosystem services and better resilience to environmental stresses linked to climate change. Legumes are the backbone of the Mediterranean agro-ecosystems from ancient times, but their unique and wide biodiversity was not sufficiently valorized, especially by North-African countries. Here, we present LEGU-MED, a three-year international project funded by PRIMA initiative 2019. An international consortium was established involving five universities, 5 research institutes, and one private company from 8 countries: Italy, Germany, Spain, Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey, Lebanon, and Croatia. The main objective of this project is to put forward an international and well-integrated plan to valorize the legume agrobiodiversity of the Mediterranean in biodiversity-based farming systems and consequently enhance agro-ecosystem functions and services in the Mediterranean basin. The successful completion of LEGU-MED will have the following impacts on Mediterranean legume-based farming systems: (1) improve water use efficiency, (2) reduce the use of anthropogenic inputs through the maintenance of soil fertility, (3) enhance pollination and improve ecological connectivity with flora and fauna, (4) protect close-by wildland ecosystems, (5) enhance other ecosystem services (e.g., pest, disease, and weed suppression), and (6) provide healthier and safer protein-rich food.

Institute of Environmental Planning
External Organisation(s)
University of Florence (UniFi)
Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento
Monte S. Angelo University Federico II
National Research Council of Italy - Institute of Biosciences and BioResources (IBBR)
National Research Council Italy (CNR)
Oran 1 University
University of Zagreb
Instituto de Investigacion y Formacion Agraria y Pesquera
Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute
Center of Biotechnology of Borj Cedria (CBBC)
Sirnak University
Bu-Ali Sina University
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Agronomy and Crop Science
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 13 - Climate Action
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)