Assessing the resilience and sustainability of a hazelnut farming system in central Italy with a participatory approach

Elena Nera*, Wim Paas, Pytrik Reidsma, Giulio Paolini, Federico Antonioli, Simone Severini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


European agriculture is facing increasing economic, environmental, institutional, and social challenges, from changes in demographic trends to the effects of climate change. In this context of high instability, the agricultural sector in Europe needs to improve its resilience and sustainability. Local assessments and strategies at the farming system level are needed, and this paper focuses on a hazelnut farming system in central Italy. For the assessment, a participatory approach was used, based on a stakeholder workshop. The results depicted a system with a strong economic and productive role, but which seems to overlook natural resources. This would suggest a relatively low environmental sustainability of the system, although the actual environmental impact of hazelnut farming is controversial. In terms of resilience, we assessed it by looking at the perceived level of three capacities: robustness, adaptability, and transformability. The results portrayed a highly robust system, but with relatively lower adaptability and transformability. Taking the farming system as the focal level was important to consider the role of different actors. While mechanisation has played a central role in enhancing past and present system resilience, future improvements can be achieved through collective strategies and system diversi?cation, and by strengthening the local hazelnut value chain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number343
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Farming system
  • Participatory assessment
  • Perennial system
  • Resilience
  • Specialisation
  • Sustainability
  • Viterbo


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