PAPER RECOMMENDATION: Envisioning the future of transhumant pastoralism through participatory scenario planning: a case study in Spain

BY JOERN FISCHER AND JAN HANSPACH
New recommendation as submitted to Faculty of 1000 Prime:

Envisioning the future of transhumant pastoralism through participatory scenario planning: a case study in Spain

By Elisa Oteros-Rozas, Berta Martín-López, César A. López, Ignacio Palomo and José A. González

The Rangeland Journal, online-early

All over the world traditional agricultural practices are declining for the benefit of modern methods, despite their diverse values for farmers, the environment and society.

Oteros-Rozas and colleagues document this development for a type of pastoralism in Spain, which used to involve seasonal movements between different grazing areas (transhumance). Based on scenario planning workshops, they map out their systems understanding, develop scenarios of future trajectories and estimate the ecosystem services provided under the alternative futures. Moreover, they employ a backcasting approach to identify the necessary means for achieving a desirable outcome – namely the implementation of payments for ecosystem services, enhancement of cooperation among transhumants, and improvement of product marketing.

Transhumance is a traditionally very common but now almost abandoned practice of pastoralism in Spain. Sheep are seasonally moved between summer and winter grazing grounds. Transhumance is highly adapted to fluctuating rainfall, contributes to biodiversity conservation, fire prevention, soil fertility and landscape connectivity. (Photo credit: Berta Martin Lopez)

Transhumance was traditionally a very common practice of pastoralism in Spain but is now almost totally abandoned. Livestock is seasonally moved between summer and winter grazing grounds. Transhumance is highly adapted to fluctuating rainfall and contributes to biodiversity conservation, fire prevention, soil fertility as well as landscape connectivity. (Photo credit: Berta Martin Lopez)

This is an excellent case study that gives an example of how to find possible ways out for systems that are increasingly unprofitable. The paper does not glorify the past but does a great job in finding realistic and viable options for future development that are both socially and ecologically desirable.

In summary: A nice study that hopefully has on-ground effects, which shows a deep, regional understanding of a social-ecological system (something that many prestigious journals make little space for these days).

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