By Rania Khalil (SPNL)
Working closely with local communities brings a special touch to our approach in the himas. Asking and calling for their participation is our constant aim, and this encourages a feeling of belonging that leads to their valuable participation in project activities.
In January and February 2020, we met the mayors and locals of Hima Anjar and Hima Kfar Zabad to evaluate the work on communal governance systems. The mayors were very forthcoming with sharing information on the himas, and after responding to a wide range of questions – on demographics, socio-economic statuses, youth conditions, immigration, nature, local capacities, environmental education, and so on – our conclusion was clear: what a great idea to establish himas with the involvement of local communities. They bring great enthusiasm as well as the roots we need for a sustainable life in harmony with nature!
Photo credit: Hima Kfar Zabad – by Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon
Jano, Hrayr, Berj, Khalil and Malek, engaged locals from the two himas, spoke passionately about their experience on the ground as part of the “hima team”, sharing stories of their adventures, constructive opinions, and both positive and negative comments on their work. This exchange of knowledge and experience allowed us to gain insight into their villages. We asked them many questions concerning their social and professional lives, and their economic situations, and linked all this to their work in the himas. We also learned about the natural resources found and used in the area, agriculture activities, ongoing reforestation efforts, environmental and social elements, and the roles of himas and community. Their participation in project activities has been truly exemplary, and a true indication of a flourishing village.
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.
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.