Migrant labour and pastoralism in Europe

As a previous blog showed, pastoralism across the Mediterranean regions of Europe has undergone immense changes in recent decades. Rural out-migration, particularly of young people, is changing the labour profiles of shepherds and herders across Italy, France and Spain. Migrant workers are filling the gap, coming from Albania, Romania, Macedonia and other countries across the Balkans in particular, but also from the Maghreb, and from countries such as Morocco.

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Should we blame livestock for climate change?

Livestock are essential to rural economies and livelihoods across the world. But are these animals contributing to planetary destruction through greenhouse gas emissions? Estimates suggest that 14.5% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions are from livestock, and nearly all of this is from grazing ruminants. But what to do about it? This is a big debate, and one that much good science is focused on.

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Wilderness for whom? Negotiating the role of livestock in landscapes

Livestock keeping is seen by some as a scourge on ‘natural’ landscapes, creating devastation through grazing and browsing. Reversion to some form of idealised ‘wilderness’ is seen as the solution, with value created through improved aesthetics, tourism and enhanced ecosystem services.This has been a focus by the ‘re-wilding’ debate. Continue reading “Wilderness for whom? Negotiating the role of livestock in landscapes”

Why killing reindeer is poor science

The Norwegian state has ordered Sami reindeer owners to reduce the size of their herds to the ‘carrying capacity’ deemed acceptable by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, arguing that high stocking rates detrimentally affect the fragile tundra ecosystem. Herder Jovvset Ánte Sara has been battling the state in the courts, resisting the requirement to reduce his herd to 75. Late last year, he lost in the Supreme Court, but vowed to fight on, arguing that this was an assault on indigenous rights.

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The many futures of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa

A 2016 article by Andy Catley, Jeremy Lind and Ian Scoones – The futures of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa: pathways of growth and change – outlines the different pathways of change emerging in the Horn of Africa. It is published in the Revue scientifique et technique (International Office of Epizootics) and is part of a special issue edited by Jacob Zinsstag and colleagues. The whole issue is well worth a read.

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Beef, borders and Brexit: why livestock movement is essential

Flexible movement is essential for most livestock systems. Whether it’s the transhumance of pastoral herds and flocks responding to seasonally variable grass production or movement along market chains from production zones to markets, mobility is crucial, but under threat. Mobility reduces uncertainty, allowing for opportunistic responses to changing conditions, whether drought, price shifts or new markets. When borders are put in the way, conflicts can arise, or re-emerge.

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Changing pastoral landscapes in Europe

Changes in climate patterns, the growing impact of trade and agriculture policies, the increasing presence of predators in many mountainous areas (wolves, bears and lynx) and dwindling market opportunities due to change in European consumption patterns, are all affecting pastoralism today in Europe. These themes – and others – will be central to our explorations of pastoralism, uncertainty and resilience in the PASTRES case study in Sardinia, Italy.

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