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Gomez-Limon J.A.,University of Cordoba, Spain | Vera-Toscano E.,Institute Estudios Sociales Avanzados | Rico-Gonzalez M.,University of Valladolid
Journal of Agricultural Economics | Year: 2012

We propose an approach to conceptualise 'rural multifunctionality' and further investigate peoples' preferences for it. We use an opinion survey concerning individual preferences for several functions that rural spaces should provide. We use the analytical hierarchy process approach to assess the relative importance of each function. The results show how the social weightings of these functions are balanced, confirming that society demands truly multifunctional rural territories. Nonetheless, differences are found in individual preferences. We explore the demographic and socioeconomic determinants of these individual preferences, paying particular attention to the importance of heterogeneity using seemingly unrelated regressions. In short, results from this research could be employed as a useful informative element for the future development of public policies related to rural spaces. © 2011 The Agricultural Economics Society. Source

Fernandez-de-Simon J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | Diaz-Ruiz F.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | Cirilli F.,University of Cordoba, Spain | Tortosa F.S.,University of Cordoba, Spain | And 3 more authors.
Acta Oecologica | Year: 2014

Exploring predator-prey systems in diverse ecosystems increases our knowledge about ecological processes. Predator population growth may be positive when conspecific density is low but predators also need areas with prey availability, associated with competition, which increases the risk of suffering losses but stabilises populations. We studied relationships between European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus (prey) and adult eagle owls Bubo bubo (predators) in south-western Europe. We assessed models explaining the predator population growth and stability. We estimated the abundance of rabbits and adult eagle owls during three years in eight localities of central-southern Spain. We explored models including rabbit and adult eagle owl abundance, accounting for yearly variations and including the locality as a random variable. We found that population growth of adult eagle owls was positive in situations with low conspecific abundance and tended to be negative but approaching equilibrium in situations of higher conspecific abundance. Population growth was also positively related to previous summer rabbit density when taking into account eagle owl conspecific abundance, possibly indicating that rabbits may support recruitment. Furthermore, abundance stability of adult eagle owls was positively related to previous winter-spring rabbit density, which could suggest predator population stabilisation through quick territory occupation in high-quality areas. These results exemplify the trade-off between prey availability and abundance of adult predators related to population growth and abundance stability in the eagle owl-rabbit system in south-western Europe. Despite rabbits have greatly declined during the last decades and eagle owls locally specialise on them, eagle owls currently have a favourable conservation status. As eagle owls are the only nocturnal raptor with such dependence on rabbits, this could point out that predators may overcome prey decreases in areas with favourable climate and prey in the absence of superior competitors with similar foraging mode. © 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. Source

Estrada E.M.,Institute Estudios Sociales Avanzados
Economia Agraria y Recursos Naturales | Year: 2014

Whereas in the developed and industrialized countries family farms are seen as an archaic and old-fashioned system, in developing ones they continue being perceived as an attractive and functional model for promoting the rural development and the welfare of rural families. Besides, family farming is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon, which make it difficult to grasp. In many rural areas family farms maintain specific ways of interaction with the territory and markets, and consequently they show a great variability from an organizational and socio-economical point of view. In this article, the author reviews firstly the traditional notion of family farming in order to check which of its characteristic elements continue to make any sense and which do not. Secondly, he proposes some ideas in order to encourage debate about the family farming, and claims to build an updated notion that allows better to grasp the particularities of those non-entrepreneurial oriented farms. Source

Carneiro M.,University of Porto | Rubin C.-J.,Uppsala University | Palma F.D.,The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard | Palma F.D.,Genome Analysis Center | And 48 more authors.
Science | Year: 2014

The genetic changes underlying the initial steps of animal domestication are still poorly understood.We generated a high-quality reference genome for the rabbit and compared it to resequencing data from populations of wild and domestic rabbits.We identified more than 100 selective sweeps specific to domestic rabbits but only a relatively small number of fixed (or nearly fixed) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for derived alleles. SNPs with marked allele frequency differences between wild and domestic rabbits were enriched for conserved noncoding sites. Enrichment analyses suggest that genes affecting brain and neuronal development have often been targeted during domestication. We propose that because of a truly complex genetic background, tame behavior in rabbits and other domestic animals evolved by shifts in allele frequencies at many loci, rather than by critical changes at only a few domestication loci. Source

Fernandez-de-Simon J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | Fernandez-de-Simon J.,University of Burgundy | Diaz-Ruiz F.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | Diaz-Ruiz F.,University of Porto | And 7 more authors.
Population Ecology | Year: 2015

Widespread generalist predators may affect declining keystone prey populations. However, this phenomenon is not well understood. In this paper, we assessed whether the abundance and population growth of European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus, a keystone prey species in Mediterranean Iberia, was related to the abundance and diet of red foxes, Vulpes vulpes, a widespread generalist predator. In a locality in central Spain, where rabbit population abundance declined, we estimated rabbit abundance during almost 3 years and determined fox abundance and diet during two concurrent years. We calculated a fox predation index (percentage of consumed rabbit biomass × fox abundance) to assess the importance of rabbits to foxes. We employed a multi–model approach to explain rabbit abundance and population growth. Foxes consumed between 60 and 99 % rabbit biomass in their diets, and this was independent of rabbit abundance. Periods of higher fox predation index coincided with lower rabbit density and vice versa. Two models best explained rabbit abundance and four rabbit population growth. They included the fox predation index and its interaction with rabbit abundance during the previous month. Altogether, fox predation, intraspecific density dependence, and their interaction partly explained rabbit population dynamics. We conclude that in order to propel the recovery of the rabbit in Iberia, it is essential to better understand the role of these factors in driving the abundance of the species. © 2015, The Society of Population Ecology and Springer Japan. Source

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