Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 607–618 | Cite as

Mediterranean agriculture under climate change: adaptive capacity, adaptation, and ethics

  • Marco GrassoEmail author
  • Giuseppe Feola
Original Article


In the coming decades, the Mediterranean region is expected to experience various climate impacts with negative consequences on agricultural systems and which will cause uneven reductions in agricultural production. By and large, the impacts of climate change on Mediterranean agriculture will be heavier for southern areas of the region. This unbalanced distribution of negative impacts underscores the significance and role of ethics in such a context of analysis. Consequently, the aim of this article is to justify and develop an ethical approach to agricultural adaptation in the Mediterranean and to derive the consequent implications for adaptation policy in the region. In particular, we define an index of adaptive capacity for the agricultural systems of the Mediterranean region on whose basis it is possible to group its different sub-regions, and we provide an overview of the suitable adaptation actions and policies for the sub-regions identified. We then vindicate and put forward an ethical approach to agricultural adaptation, highlighting the implications for the Mediterranean region and the limitations of such an ethical framework. Finally, we emphasize the broader potential of ethics for agricultural adaptation policy.


Adaptation Adaptive capacity Agriculture Climate change Ethics Mediterranean region 



The authors thank Christian Baatz and two anonymous referees for their comments on previous versions of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

10113_2011_274_MOESM1_ESM.doc (121 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 121 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca SocialeUniversità degli Studi di Milano-BicoccaMilanoItaly
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Environmental ScienceUniversity of ReadingReadingUK

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