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

Carme Font*, Roc Padró, Claudio Cattaneo, Joan Marull, Enric Tello, Aureli Alabert, Mercè Farré

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we propose 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. We start 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. We take lessons in terms of socioecological transition analysis, and to offer novel insights on how information-as-structure driven by farmers’ intentionality, knowledge and cultural practices plays a key role in structuring cultural landscapes.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number106104
JournalEcological Indicators
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Cultural landscapes
  • Farm system modelling
  • Information
  • Linear optimization
  • Mixed farming
  • Social metabolism


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