Mobile Pastoralism in Mediterranean Landscapes: The state of (mobile) pastoralism in five pilot sites

By Roads Less Travelled

Landscapes are “the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors” (ELC, 2000). This is particularly valid for the Mediterranean Basin, with its long history of habitation. Mobile pastoralism, a major
traditional cultural practice in the Mediterranean for millennia, is a unique example of this constant interaction. Being entirely different in essence to intensive livestock production systems, mobile pastoralism has offered the most sustainable way to make the most of the Mediterranean’s rangelands.

The strong linkage between the maintenance of mobile pastoralism and the protection of rangeland ecosystems has been supported by a growing body of scientific evidence (Yılmaz et al., 2019). Local communities all over 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. However, the threats of modern era that these communities are facing today challenge their capability to maintain their traditional lifestyles. This calls for urgent action.

In order to conserve these traditional cultural practices which enable the maintenance and management of landscape diversity and halt biodiversity loss in Mediterranean Basin, 13 organizations joined forces at landscape and regional levels with the support provided by MAVA Foundation.At the landscape level, five pilot sites corresponding to three broad landscape types have been identified: Island landscapes (Lemnos Island, Greece and Menorca Island, Spain), Mountainous landscapes (High Atlas, Morocco and El Shouf Mountain, Lebanon) and lowland agro-silvo-pastoral landscapes (Dehesas, Spain, and Montados, Portugal). In addition to interventions at these pilot sites, mobile pastoralism is addressed at the regional level by Roads Less Travelled. This brief report outlines the state of (mobile) pastoralism in five pilot sites and how the partner organisations support conservation of the practice at the landscape level.