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.
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).