Photo: Grazing before sunset © Stamos Abatis / MedINA

Grazing before sunset © Stamos Abatis / MedINA

Mobile Pastoralism in the Mediterranean

We strongly believe that nature can be protected in many different ways by many different people – there isn’t just one correct method. We see this in communities across the globe who maintain their surrounding nature simply by how they live their lives.

Mobile pastoralists the world over share a common understanding of the landscapes they live in and a common ability to read these landscapes and be part of it. There is a strong linkage between the maintenance of mobile pastoralism and the protection of nature. Yet they are facing unprecedented challenges, and the very same pressures that threaten nature also threaten their itinerant ways of life. The voice of the mobile pastoralist is little heard in the cacophony of modern existence and general discord with the natural world.

Having the will to maintain their lifestyles in the advent of the 21st century, however, is unfortunately not enough. Ignorance, misinformation, social prejudice, and harmful policies and legislation are threatening the livelihoods of mobile pastoralists – and along with that, their roles as stewards of our local natural landscapes.

Mobile Pastoralism in the Mediterranean

We strongly believe that nature can be protected in many different ways by many different people – there isn’t just one correct method. We see this in communities across the globe who maintain their surrounding nature simply by how they live their lives.

Mobile pastoralists the world over share a common understanding of the landscapes they live in and a common ability to read these landscapes and be part of it. There is a strong linkage between the maintenance of mobile pastoralism and the protection of nature. Yet they are facing unprecedented challenges, and the very same pressures that threaten nature also threaten their itinerant ways of life. The voice of the mobile pastoralist is little heard in the cacophony of modern existence and general discord with the natural world.

Having the will to maintain their lifestyles in the advent of the 21st century, however, is unfortunately not enough. Ignorance, misinformation, social prejudice, and harmful policies and legislation are threatening the livelihoods of mobile pastoralists – and along with that, their roles as stewards of our local natural landscapes.

Transhumance of sheep in Aliste, by AMNC project | Mobile Pastoralism in the Mediterranean

A collaborative and global programme of work which supports mobile pastoralist communities to maintain their lifestyles and continue moving freely through landscapes.

In making efforts to respond to the hardships these communities the world over are facing, we have developed this global and collaborative programme of research, lobbying, outreach and celebration to inform wider public and consumers and persuade policymakers of the benefits of mobile pastoralist communities bring to nature, climate and all societies, at the cost of none and to the benefit of all.

Photo: Transhumance of sheep in Aliste © Diego Mori

Transhumance of sheep in Aliste, by AMNC project | Mobile Pastoralism in the Mediterranean

A collaborative and global programme of work which supports mobile pastoralist communities to maintain their lifestyles and continue moving freely through landscapes.

In making efforts to respond to the hardships these communities the world over are facing, we have developed this global and collaborative programme of research, lobbying, outreach and celebration to inform wider public and consumers and persuade policymakers of the benefits of mobile pastoralist communities bring to nature, climate and all societies, at the cost of none and to the benefit of all.

Photo: Transhumance of sheep in Aliste © Diego Mori

The programme covers three local focuses in Greece, Albania and Spain, where each carefully brings different dimensions of mobile pastoralism in the region. To illustrate, the activities in Albania aim at displaying the links between mobile pastoralism and vulture conservation through addressing the benefits of pastoralist way of life to biodiversity via a regional conference accompanied with multiple communication actions. The activities in Pindos, Greece focus on assessing and demonstrating the value of traditional ecological knowledge for ensuring biodiversity, human well-being and financial sustainability of cultural practices-based economies. The case in Spain highlights the importance of pastoralist local products and the activities there cover producing a video on wool production and marketing to facilitate these products’ entry into market mechanisms. 

The programme overall intends at raising local, regional and global awareness in understanding the benefits of mobile pastoralism; therefore, the practice is aimed to be promoted utmost through international networks such as International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists.

Protected Roads, by by AMNC project | Mobile Pastoralism in the Mediterranean

Transhumance remains a relevant and profitable practice with herder’s knowledge adapting to changing conditions

Yolda Initiative conducted a scientific study, led by María Fernández-Giménez of Colorado State University, to address the gaps in the documentation of traditional ecological knowledge of transhumant communities in Spain. The research is based on participant observation of transhumant movements alongside in-depth interviews with current and former transhumant herders. The findings of the study challenge the dominant narrative of the demise of transhumance in rural Spain, showing that transhumance remains a relevant and profitable practice. The analysis demonstrates that under most scenarios, transhumance on foot is the most profitable production system.

Photo: Protected roads © Antolin Avuzela

Transhumance, by AMNC project | Mobile Pastoralism in the Mediterranean

Lobbying for acknowledgement of mobile pastoralism is influential in endorsement of favourable policies

A global coalition composed of pastoralist organisations and supporting organisations towards gaining a United Nations resolution designating an International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists has been formed in order to address the need to increase knowledge and understanding and to develop sustainable actions for conserving these unique ecosystems and the pastoralists who rely on them. As a member of the IYRP Global Coordination Group and Co-chairing the Regional IYRP Support Group for Europe, Yolda Initiative has been actively working with other partners to achieve this goal.

Photo: Transhumance © Claire Jeannerat

Griffon Vultures, by AMNC project | Mobile Pastoralism in the Mediterranean

Mobile pastoralism has a vital role in sustaining healthy vulture populations

Yolda Initiative and Asociación Trashumancia y Natureleza in collaboration with Miguel Hernández University conducted a research on the spatial analyses of foraging and movement patterns of Griffon vulture individuals tagged with GPS trackers in various regions of Spain where transhumance occurs. The aim of the study is to gain a scientific understanding of the beneficial role transhumance has on vulture species. The study evidenced that the abandonment of traditional grazing systems including transhumance may entail consequences for the scavenger communities which should be considered by ecologists and wildlife managers.

Photo: Griffon Vultures © Bruno Berthemy / Vulture Conservation Foundation

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