By Sandra Spissinger, DiversEarth

Mobile pastoralism has shaped the Mediterranean landscape for thousands of years. In the last 50 years, the abandonment of this practice has had a negative influence on biodiversity in some parts of the Mediterranean whereas in other parts, like in the Maghreb, overgrazing or badly managed grazing negatively impacts biodiversity. Unfortunately in such cases the whole practice is blamed rather than searching for the real root causes that lead to unsustainable practice.

 In order to better understand the root causes of overgrazing and the different dynamics that lead to it, Roads Less Travelled – a global partnership of Yolda Initiative, DiversEarth and Asociación Trashumancia y Naturaleza – engaged Dr. Fagouri Said to delve into the issue and investigate the situation in Morocco. Customary laws and traditions, land use changes, wider socio-political and economic changes and pressures were taken into consideration. Dr. Fagouri met with several shepherd communities in different parts of Morocco, eliciting their perspectives. 

Please visit the DiversEarth website to download “The Roots of Overgrazing in Morocco: a pastoralist’s perspective, which is also available in French. A version in Arabic will follow soon.

Mobile Pastoral Systems are More Profitable

“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.

Solid Engagement with Communities Reveals a lot About Himas

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.

New Resources Feature Benefits and Value of Cultural Practices

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.

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.

Supporting Small-Scale Farmers as Food Systems are Under Serious Threat

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.

Eating an Organic Mediterranean Diet Helps Fight Disease

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.