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Product title :

Pastoralism in Europe: characteristics and challenges of highland–lowland transhumance

Author(s) : K. Liechti & J.-P. Biber

Summary :

Transhumant pastoralism remains a prevalent form of land use across Europe, especially in mountain areas. Besides generating food and other products, it provides a range of public goods and services that are often highly valued by broader society. But transhumance faces structural challenges associated with life in remote mountain areas, including economic pressures, lack of services, low prestige, and ageing populations. These threaten its future. The decline of transhumant systems leads to ecological, economic, and socio-cultural losses, e.g. the loss of biodiversity, of shared cultural heritage based on pastoral practices, and of common property institutions. There are a number of activities that will help to ensure the future of European transhumance, including: i) raising awareness of the public services it provides, ii) better integrating pastoral issues into national agricultural policies, and iii) increasing support for so-called high nature value (HNV) farmlands, which often feature extensive grazing.

Keywords
Cultural heritage – Europe – Extensive grazing – High nature value (HNV) farmland – Highland–lowland – Mountain pasture – Pastoralism – Transhumance.

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