By Engin Yılmaz (Yolda Initiative), Roads Less Travelled project
NEW RESOURCE – “An economic analysis of transhumance in the Central Spanish Pyrenees” is a peer-reviewed paper written by María E. Fernández-Giménez of Colorado State University and John Ritten of University of Wyoming based on the findings of the study conducted within Roads Less Travelled global program, a partnership of Yolda Initiative, Asociación Trashumancia y Naturaleza and DiversEarth, with support from the MAVA Foundation.
Economic studies of pastoral production generally, and specifically mobile systems such as transhumance, are relatively scarce. However, determining the relative profitability of transhumance compared to more settled production systems at the firm level is critical to understanding producers’ decisions to take up or maintain this practice. Addressing this gap, this study is the first published analysis of the relative profitability of different livestock production systems in Central Spanish Pyrenees or elsewhere in Spain.
Based on an empirical evaluation of relative profitability between transhumance on foot, transhumance on truck and semi extensive production in Central Spanish Pyrenees, this paper provides initial evidence of the economic rationality of transhumance under contemporary environmental and economic conditions, filling a notable gap in research on the economics of mobile pastoralism.
Photo caption: Sheep grazing in Spain
Despite the prevailing public narrative that transhumance is a fading practice in rural Spain this paper documents an example of the revitalization of transhumance. Due to many factors, the prevalence of transhumance in the study area diminished significantly in the 1980s and 1990s and many families intensified their production and converted to a semi-extensive management model. Yet in the 2010s, not only did some families re-start transhumance but also several young herders opted to use transhumance from their inception.
This study documents that the primary reason for maintaining or taking up transhumance is its relative profitability compared to semi-extensive livestock husbandry. Collecting primary data on the costs and revenues associated with three types of operations (transhumance on foot, transhumance on truck and semi-extensive production), the study compared these three operation types. The analysis demonstrates that in most scenarios, transhumance on foot is the most profitable production system and both transhumance systems outperform semi-extensive systems.
You can read the paper here.
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.
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.
For years nutritionists have extolled the virtues of a Mediterranean diet, now environmental NGOs like WWF are calling for us to improve our health and the environment by following the Med. The #MedFoodHeroes campaign from 15-27 June coordinated by @RootedEveryday celebrates the rich cuisine the Mediterranean has to offer and the benefits to people and planet when we buy from small sustainable producers.