A multifunctional assessment of integrated and ecological farming in olive agroecosystems in southwestern Spain using the Analytic Hierarchy Process

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Olive agroecosystems have for several decades undergone management changes aimed to meet the demands of new agricultural policy trends and of consumers and society. While the main role of olive groves is the production of olives and oil, its multifunctional performance is supported through the European and regional legislative framework, promoting the recognition of non-productive ecosystem services provided by agriculture to society. The objective of this work is to compare two types of olive grove management (integrated and ecological) under the multifunctionality of agriculture (MFA) approach, in Estepa (Andalusia, Spain). To this end, environmental, economic and social indicators were considered. Subsequently, the multifunctional behaviour of olive groves under different management schemes was evaluated using the multicriteria Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) methodology. Ecological farming presented greater valuation in the satisfaction of social demands, with better weightings in all the indicators evaluated, except for farm income and Lepidoptera richness. Thus, the implementation of practices related to ecological management leads to a greater multifunctionality of olive groves. It is thus fundamental that multi-scale policies consider the value of the environmental externalities of this type of management, favouring its implementation to contribute positively to the multifunctionality and sustainability of olive groves in Andalusia.