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Life agriCOlture, a project co-financed by the European Union within LIFE CCM 2018 Programme, investigates the contribution that animal husbandry can play, in mountain areas, for soil protection and Climate Change mitigation. For this aim, it tests and evaluates, by working in a paradigmatic context of mountain livestock, best practices related to breeding and forage production indicated by scientific research as effective for the protection of soil organic carbon and the reduction of GHG emissions. In parallel with their application and evaluation, Life agriCOlture systematizes and disseminates its best practices through an innovative territorial contract for the production of agro-climatic-environmental services.

The case study of the Emilian Apennines
The case study of the forage and livestock system of the Emilian Apennines represents, for Life agriCOlture, a privileged condition to test CC mitigation best practices related to breeding and their systemization and replication through a territorial contract. A privileged case study essentially for the level of productive and social organization expressed in this territory by the Parmigiano Reggiano supply chain, the most intensive livestock production that can be found in the Apennine context and perhaps the highest in the entire Italian mountains. The cropping and livestock system of the Emilian Apennines should be read, in this sense, as a constitutive element of a wider project of social construction of this territory that has been progressively unfolded through a dense network of cooperative dairies, a social and economic structure of small peasant enterprises and an impressive environmental transformation aimed at compensating climatic conditions that are not optimal for forage production.
Partnership and project area
Life agriCOlture partnership is constituted by four institutions that operates, with different mandates and purposes, in the territorial management of the Emilian Apennines: Consorzio di Bonifica dell’Emilia Centrale (Coordinating Beneficiary), Consorzio della Bonifica Burana, Centro Ricerche Produzioni Animali – CRPA, Ente Parco Nazionale dell’Appennino Tosco-Emiliano. The project area includes the mountain territory of the two watershed authorities involved in the project (Emilia Centrale and Burana) while the demonstration plots, around 40 hectares overall, are provided by 15 farms located in areas that are particularly representative of the geographical and pedoclimatic context of the Emilian Apennines.
Project objectives
Alongside the exceptional strengths of Parmigiano Reggiano supply chain, Life agriCOlture recognizes the urgency of increasing the economic and environmental efficiency of the forage and livestock system of the Emilian Apennines. In particular, the loss of fertile soil and its content of organic matter – caused by agricultural practices not sensitive to the hydrogeological fragility of this territory – seems to undermine the material reproduction of this landscape and, immediately, compromising the economic and environmental efficiency of its farms.
In this sense, Life agriCOlture proposes a set of strategies and best practices able to increase the efficiency of mountain livestock farms and their forage production and, at the same time, to pursue the foundamental environmental challanges of soil protection and CC mitigation. The project operates, in particular, on four areas of intervention declined in application protocols of best practices.
1. The organization and management of the forage and cropping system
2. The management of animal waste
3. Feeding and herd management
4. The management of the infrastructure embedded in agricultural land (drainage, farm mobility, etc.)
The LIFE agriCOlture project has received funding from the LIFE Programme of the European Union.
About the LIFE programme
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action created in 1992. Every year, the European Commission, which manages the program LIFE launches a call for proposals and, based on criteria that take into account the multiannual strategic program and any national priorities, determines which of the proposed projects, can benefit from the financial support of LIFE and regularly publishes a list of these projects.
Coordinating beneficiary
Associated beneficiaries

Project Title: Livestock farming against climate change problems posed by soil degradation in the Emilian Apennines
Project Code: LIFE18 CCM/IT/001093
Duration: 4 years (from 02.09.2019 to 31.08.2023)
Total budget: 1,515,276 Euro
EU contribution: 833,118 Euro
Project location: Emilia Romagna


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