Two reports on mobile pastoralism in the Mediterranean

By 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.

As part of efforts to restore West Bakaa landscape multi-functionality and its associated cultural practices, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) developed a management and restoration plan for degraded high mountain pastures in the Himas of West Bekaa in collaboration with the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit at the American University of Beirut and jointly implemented it with local municipalities and shepherds.

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.