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How farmers shape cultural landscapes. Dealing with information in farm systems (Vallès County, Catalonia, 1860)

Title of the magazine or publication: 
Ecological Indicators


Issue number: 


  • Carme Font (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
  • Roc Padró (Institut Metròpoli)
  • Claudio Cattaneo (Masaryk University, Brno)
  • Joan Marull (Institut Metròpoli)
  • Enric Tello (Universitat de Barcelona)
  • Aureli Alabert (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
  • Mercè Farré (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Publication date:


In this paper is proposed an approach to understand how different farmer’s goals can contribute to structure

cultural landscapes and how the information-as-structure held in energy flows within farm systems can be

measured. It starts from a historical case study located in a Mediterranean landscape in the Vallès County

(Catalonia, 1860) and apply an optimization model by using a socio-metabolic approach that responds to three

different strategies at farm gate: maximizing population, minimizing labour, and maximizing income. The

modelled farm pattern of energy flows, the information indicator and the landscape structure that would be

obtained under each optimization strategy are then compared with actual historical data. The results obtained

confirm that it is the farmers’ know-how and culture what allows to manage the energy distribution into the farm

system in order to maintain a sustainable management of the territory.

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