Most people’s image of Sardinia is based on the picture-postcard scenes of beaches and smart tourist resorts along the coast. But Sardinia also has an important livestock production sector, and pastoralism is central to the wider economy. Sardinia is most famous for its pecorino cheese, made from sheep’s milk. Most of us know the hard grating Pecorino Romano PDO cheese exported globally, but there are multiple other varieties too, and sheep, goat and cow’s milk production for cheese-making and meat offtake are all-important.
The PASTRES country lead for China, Gongbuzeren, has a fascinating new article out in Ecology and Society (open access), together with Lynn Huntsinger and Wenjun Li. It is based on extended fieldwork on the Tibetan plateau and explores how pastoral communities are responding to rapid economic and policy change.
A new PASTRES video has just been released featuring Dr Antonello Franco, PASTRES lead for Sardinia from the Institute of Animal Production Systems in Mediterranean Environments in Sassari, Italy. It reflects on the importance of the project for the island of Sardinia.
Dr Gongburezen is the lead researcher for PASTRES in China. Based at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu and working closely with Wenjun Li at Peking University, he will be coordinating PASTRES work in the pastoral areas of Qinghai and Sichuan.
In this short video, part of a forthcoming series to be featured on the PASTRES blog, Dr Hussein Abdullahi Mahmoud introduces the PASTRES work in northern Kenya by responding to two questions.
There’s a vegan craze in full swing in Brighton in the UK – and it seems more broadly. There was a vegan festival near my house the other weekend, and vegan graffiti (in washable chalk, I hasten to add) appears frequently in our local park. My daughter became a vegan for a period a year or so ago after a school trip to a local farm. I have nothing against veganism, and I see its potential health, welfare and environmental benefits, certainly for consumers in northern Europe. But what would a mass shift from livestock products mean for poor pastoralists living in marginal areas?
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.
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.
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”
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.