Humans have inhabited and shaped Mediterranean landscapes for millennia, developing mutual relationships between themselves and the environment. But, how can we prove that some cultural practices are beneficial for biodiversity? This is the key question with which the project “Biodiversity Knowledge and Monitoring” started its path. As hard as the question is, as essential it is to solve it. The real lack of knowledge on how to demonstrate and incentivize unique types of farming that sustain the correct functioning of the systems they are part of is driving agricultural landscapes to two polarized situations: abandonment and intensification. It is time to feature farmers using biodiversity-friendly practices because enhancing and recognizing their work, in harmony with the systems they depend on and which they sustain, is a must.  

Five pilot sites were selected due to the agricultural mosaic they contain—rich in biodiversity and cultural practices—to prove that it is possible to maintain the livelihood of farmers while protecting biodiversity and ecosystems. The organizations working at each pilot site identified cultural practices to monitor, using different methodologies to showcase the relation between many decades of human activity with ecosystems and biodiversity.

Photo credit: IUCN

After a bit over a year of work, progress in each site are starting to show results that will add to a database of cases where the links between cultural practices and biodiversity is well understood. Findings on the actual situation of agricultural landscapes show that there are many areas that still hold healthy agroecosystems rich in biodiversity; agroecosystems that, to avoid their disappearance, need protection and recognition.

By Mercedes Muñoz Cañas and Marcos Valderrábano (IUCN-Med)

Sheep to Combat Climate Change

Asociación Trashumancia y Naturaleza collaborated with the city council of Madrid to organise the annual Fiesta de la Trashumancia Madrid 2019 (Transhumance Festival)—which saw 1800 sheep and 200 goats pass through the centre of Spain’s capital city. The event, now in its 26th year, was successful in creating awareness on the importance of maintaining this ancestral practice of which Spain is a global example and that is a very valuable tool in the fight against climate change and rural depopulation, among other benefits.

Travelling with Birds

In September last year, we set out to observe and learn about migratory birds and their flight paths. Joined by local and international bird experts, we worked alongside the Hima Hammana community to observe the birds that flew overhead, while learning from the experts about bird monitoring processes.

Two Reports on Mobile Pastoralism in the Mediterranean

Mobile pastoralism is a major traditional cultural practice in the Mediterranean and a unique example of the constant interaction between humans and nature. Being entirely different in essence to intensive livestock production systems, this practice offers the most sustainable way to make the most of the Mediterranean’s rangelands.

Meet the Winner of 2019 Rooted Everyday #MedStoryPrize

Sophia Sifaki from Greece is the winner of the first Mediterranean environmental-themed short story prize with her story The Treasure. Sifaki’s story The Treasure spins an enchanting conservation tale in which a young doctor arrives on the small Greek island of...

Greek School Girls Win First Environment-Themed Short Story Prize

“It was with great joy that I took up the role of the judge on the students’ writing competition. I was caught up in pleasant surprise when I received and read their works, only to discover their true writing potential! All of the young participants, and especially the ones who won, produced exceptional stories, with flowing language and full of imaginative ideas. I felt like I was instantly carried over to Lemnos island, looked upon its landscape, smelled its fragrance and saw its inhabitants."

The Missing Message by Faiza Lhbabi

The Missing Message is a story about a group of animal friends living in a beautiful forest. However, the forest trees are losing their green colour and the river that was once flowing through the forest has completely dried up. The animals are worried to die of thirst. One morning, they all gather to discuss how they are going to survive and if people will be able to help them...