Categories Blog, Europe and Russia

Preserving communities and environment through Transhumance

First published on 10/01/2014, and last updated on 01/22/2018

By: Concha Salguero & Transhumancia y Naturaleza/Meditarranean Consortium

The Mediterranean Consortium for Nature & Culture has undertaken a project to assess and support transhumance and nomadic pastoralism in the Mediterranean Basin, The aim is to reinforce these traditional practices as crucial tools for the survival of Mediterranean ecosystems and communities.

Transhumance exists throughout the Mediterranean, but the project is centered on Greece and the Balkans, Lebanon, the High Atlas, Turkey and the ancient transhumant routes which still exist in Spain and Portugal.

Transhumance and nomadic pastoralism is the most efficient livestock farming system in terms of use of natural resources. A proven formula which has existed for at least the last 10,000 years, its list of associated environmental benefits is long, including the maintenance of unique habitats, fire prevention, carbon storage and other means of fighting climate change. Transhumant routes are also biodiversity ‘warehouses’ and ecological corridors along which millions of seeds and insects are spread by the animals; ‘motorways of life’ linking habitats threatened by isolation and fragmentation.

They are providers of ecosystem services such as healthier food and cultural practices, allowing local communities to protect and manage their land, water and other resources and preserve their cultural heritage and traditional knowledge.

Most fascinating of all is the role which transhumance and nomadic pastoralism fulfil in the present day as a tool for ‘retroinnovation’ in the fight against the two main ills currently plaguing modern society: the social-economic and environmental crises.

This initiative led to the elaboration of a book that you can easily find online with this link.

It also resulted in an exhibition almost as nomad as it title indicate it: On the move that is currently in Geneva but which will be held in many other cities.

Many reasons then, for hoping that this project gives new life to these unique practices for the 21st Century and beyond.

Find more and follow this initiative on their website, and on Facebook