By Irini Lyratzaki, Terra Lemnia – Restoration of the Traditional Agro-pastoral Mandra System of Lemnos Island
The intangible heritage of our communities and societies contributes a great deal to our culture and identity. Under the auspices of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports develops the national inventory of Greece’s intangible heritage in an attempt to register its elements and provide an accurate picture of its current state. Inscription of an element in the national inventory requires a special form to be filled out, accompanied by the necessary documentation. It is imperative that the bearers of ICH—community groups and even individuals—are involved in the preparation of the application file and later on, in the necessary updates.
MedINA, in cooperation with Terra Lemnia local partner Anemoessa, an Association for Environmental Protection and Architectural Heritage Conservation of Lemnos, carried out desk research and fieldwork, including a number of on-site interviews, to record the information needed to submit the file for melipasto/melichloro cheese. The team, which included Theophilos Massouras, Professor of Dairy Science at the Agricultural University of Athens, met with a number of small and large cheese producers, who explained in detail the entire procedure of cheese making, its origins, as well as its significance for the Lemnians in the past and the present.
Photo credit: P.Pravlis
The melipasto/melichloro cheese has been an important element of the economy of the island, its gastronomic heritage and the cultural identity of the locals. It is also a source of pride for its large number of producers who make cheese in mandras, the traditional agro-pastoral premises of local farmers, in small or larger cheese factories following traditional recipes, and also in their home kitchens, carrying on a very old tradition: to ensure that their family will have enough cheese—a product necessary for their survival in the past—for the coming year.
Following the submission of the file for melipasto/melichloro, Anemoessa and MedINA will host an open event in Lemnos in springtime to discuss with the local community on the potential for further action regarding valorisation of significant elements of the local intangible heritage. Officials from the Ministry of Culture will join the event, sharing their views and experience with the people of the island.
Photo credit: P.Pravlis
MedINA is a leading partner of the Terra Lemnia – Restoration of the Traditional Agro-pastoral Mandra System of Lemnos Island pilot site project that aims to restore landscapes rich with local crop varieties, rangelands sown with seeds to create rich pastures and support sustainable grazing.
Workshop Discussions and Research Findings to Culminate in a Shared Resource on Increased Sustainability of Cultural Practices, Biodiversity and Livelihoods in Cultural andscapes
At a workshop held in March 2020, project partners explore economic practices and options that can sustain or improve the viability of cultural practices that support cultural landscapes across the Mediterranean.
“The Roots of Overgrazing in Morocco: a pastoralist’s perspective” is based on the findings of a study that delved into customary laws and traditions, land use changes, wider socio-political and economic changes and pressures, and suggests some key solutions from a pastoralist perspective.
“An economic analysis of transhumance in the Central Spanish Pyrenees” empirically evaluates mobile pastoralists’ claims that transhumance, a specific type of long-distance herd mobility, is a more profitable system compared to semi-extensive production in the Central Spanish Pyrenees.
Mediterranean partners step up advocacy and lobbying efforts to promote policy changes in favour of agro-silvo-pastoral systems by contributing to the development of the EU Common Agricultural Policy beyond 2020, and more.
Engaged mayors and locals reveal a wealth of information on communal governance systems in Hima Anjar and Hima Kfar Zabad, in the Shouf Reserve in Lebanon, providing crucial input to identifying best methods and practices to encourage community engagement and public participation in biodiversity conservation.
Two new resources are available online: “Links between agricultural practices and biodiversity in Mediterranean Landscapes” (report and factsheet) documents cases across our pilot landscapes and the Mediterranean basin, while “the legacy of the land” is a visual tool that can be used to communicate the importance of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.
Efforts to Inscribe the “Mandra-System” of Lemnos Island in the National Inventory of Intangible Heritage Underway
Following the successful proposal submission to inscribe melipasto/melichloro cheese in the National Inventory of the Intangible Heritage of Greece, effort is now afoot to develop a proposal for another element of the intangible heritage of Lemnos, that of the ‘mandra system’.
Reintroduced Nubian Ibex Species in the West Bekaa Caught on Camera, While Restoration Work of Degraded Pastures are underway
Camera traps capture images that show the reintroduction of the Nubian Ibex to the Shouf Biosphere Reserve in Lebanon, while implementation of a management and restoration plan for degraded high mountain pastures in the Himas of West Bekaa is underway.
Results from Years of Research on Biological and Cultural Diversity in the Moroccan High Atlas now Available in an Online Database
In the Moroccan High Atlas, the Global Diversity Foundation launched an integrative and living biocultural database for those interested in learning about the rich biological and cultural diversity in the region, developed and distributed a colourful booklet on local and useful plant products, and distributed medicinal and aromatic plants to High Atlas families.
In the dehesas and montados of Spain and Portugal, as the COVID-19 crisis revealed the vulnerability of production systems, project partners WWF Spain, Asociación Trashumancia y Naturaleza and WWF Portugal responded by advocating for support from the government for small scale farmers, while continuing efforts to promote sustainably-produced food.