GIS-Based and Outranking Approach to Assess Suitable Pig Farming Areas in the Mediterranean Region: Valencian Community

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The concentration of livestock production is problematic due to environmental concerns. European regulations are guiding the sector to become increasingly sustainable and, at the same time, maintaining the population in rural areas. The aim was to determine suitable areas in municipalities where livestock is presented as a market option. The methodology applied was based on the combination of multi-criteria methods and geographic information system (GIS) techniques, following three steps: removal of unsuitable zones by sectoral regulations (STEP 1); removal of unsuitable zones due to urban planning, and environmental recommendations (STEP 2); and evaluating the resulting areas depending on the importance of socio-economic, sectoral, and environmental characteristics. This study was based in a Spanish region with ongoing conflicts over land use on the coast but with a high number of rural municipalities at risk of depopulation in the interior. The results showed that 33% of the municipalities of the Valencian Community (VC) had suitable and outranking areas for the development of the swine sector. The 43 municipalities with the highest scores were because of the socio-economic factor and confirmed that suitable livestock development in municipalities with the highest risk of depopulation and low rural tourism activity was a key issue for development