By Engin Yilmaz (Yolda Initiative), Roads Less Travelled

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. 

Local communities throughout the Mediterranean basin still engage in many traditional cultural practices, which together with mobile pastoralism contribute to the ecological integrity and diversity of Mediterranean landscapes.

Prepared in collaboration with pilot site partners, Mobile Pastoralism in Mediterranean Landscapes briefly outlines the state of mobile pastoralism in the island landscapes of Lemnos Island, Greece and Menorca Island, Spain, the mountainous landscapes of the High Atlas, Morocco and El Shouf Mountain, Lebanon, and the lowland agro-silvo-pastoral landscapes of Dehesas, Spain, and Montados, Portugal. The report also describes actions by pilot site partners to support conservation of this practice.

Co-creating Knowledge for Action with Transhumant Herders in Spain describes a study to document present-day transhumant pastoralists’ traditional knowledge in use and ethnographic accounts of the current reality of transhumance in practice, grounded in the lived experiences and voices of transhumant herders in Spain. Written by María E. Fernández-Giménez of Colorado State University, the report includes transhumant knowledge in use (case studies of transhumance in Jaen and the central Pyrenees), benefits, costs and challenges of contemporary transhumance, abandonment and revitalisation of transhumance in the western Aragonese Pyrenees, and a preliminary economic analysis of transhumance. The findings, while showing that transhumance remains a relevant and profitable practice in Spain, also reveals that the practice faces significant challenges to long-term continuity.

Yolda Initiative is a leading partner of Roads Less Travelled a new collaborative and global programme of work which supports and helps mobile pastoralist communities maintain their lifestyles and continue moving freely through the landscape.

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.

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...

The Garbage Monster by Kaoutar Lakhr

The garbage monster tells the story of two young girls who time-travelled to the future and found planet Earth deserted and in a terrible state: a sea full of oil and garbage everywhere. While they look around at the state of the Earth they meet a monster who is made of all kinds of garbage. He is very angry with humans and the girls quickly learn why...