This publication is the compilation of the papers and keynote lectures presented at the "International Symposium on Mediterranean Animal Germplasm and Future Human Challenges". A symposium which is part of the series of the EAAP-FAO-CIHEAM annual international sessions on animal production which, since 1980, expressed an interest for the original animal germplasm involved in the Mediterranean animal production systems. It is based also on the attainments of the FAO-CIHEAM Research Network in the field of sheep and goat production and on the large survey organized under the EAAP auspices on the cattle Mediterranean systems. The Mediterranean area is particularly rich genetically due to the variety of breeds which can be found, to the experience in the field of intra-species biodiversity, to the many references to the procedures of performance recording for the prospects of rare breeds and their conservation. The main lesson is the importance of the know-how in combining national and local approaches, state and private initiatives. Integrated management of the genetic variability of Mediterranean livestock is essential to meet the demands for meat and milk, to adjust the genetic material and the production systems to contrasted natural resources in the region and avoid the disappearance of original genetic association of local breeds. The Symposium enabled taking stock of the situation of Mediterranean germplasm at world level, taking into account the challenges for quantitative needs for feed, for the sustainable development of agriculture and the socio-economic evolution and issues in the region. The research for economic and social valorization of original germplasm is a new step for the conservation of farm animal biodiversity.
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