Pastoral management and plant conservation

Livestock farming for plant conservation: opportunities, challenges and key elements for success


This farming activity is frequently considered to be a threat for conservation, particularly in areas where poor livestock management and overgrazing prevail, whereas, in other places, conservation efforts are made to preserve livestock grazing, particularly when the abandonment of pasture use is putting valuable habitats and species at risk. This contrast is particularly visible when we compare situations found in the northern and southern rims of the Mediterranean.

In Europe, this type of farming is frequently welcome -and even requested by conservation managers- in areas where targeted grazing can play a valuable role (e.g., wild re prevention or control of invasive species) and more generally, where they are considered to be “High Nature Value farming systems” (HNV), which help preserve threatened species, valuable farmland habitats and essential ecological processes.

The first block of the workshop will be devoted to presenting the HNV farming concept and share experiences from areas where grazing management is being encouraged.

In Northern Africa and part of the East of the Mediterranean, the challenge is completely different. Poverty in rural areas, linked with a much higher dependence on local natural resources for subsistence, maintains a very high “farming pressure” in much of the region. Indeed, the combination of collecting fuelwood, ploughing and grazing intensively produce important impacts on many Important Plant Areas. Addressing these issues calls for tools like the Ecosystem-based approach that IUCN supports, which will be presented and discussed in the second block of this workshop.

In this integrative approach, local people and their use of natural areas are carefully taken into account when developing conservation plans. In the workshop, we will discuss some experiences where alliances for conservation with local populations are being established.

Participants are expected to contribute actively to the workshop with their own experience, successes and difficulties, so as to have lively exchanges on the subject. Inspiring success stories of collaboration between livestock farmers and conservation managers in Mediterranean designated areas are particularly welcome. The overall focus should be set on how challenges have been or are currently dealt with, so that the final debate of the workshop leads to identifying some of the key tools and strategies we all need to address pastoral farming issues and better achieve conservation goals.

Chair: contact details of person coordinating the session

Jabier Ruiz. Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM-IUCN) and European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (EFNCP)

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