/ TRANSHUMANCE & NOMADIC PASTORALISM /

Transhumance

/ WHAT IS TRANSHUMANCE & NOMADIC PASTORALISM /

Transhumance is the movement of livestock in search of water and food. It differs from nomadism in that only the herders who lead the flock participate, leaving their families behind. Animal mythology and symbolism permeate all aspects of this nomadic society and their way of living is in real harmony with nature. As human groups they are part of the ecosystems they pass through and their way of living embedded in nature, are themselves part of biodiversity.

/ WHERE IS IT FOUND /

Transhumance is found all over the Mediterranean Basin, however our areas of focus are: Greece and the Balkans, Lebanon, the High Atlas, Turkey and on ancient transhumant routes still existing in Spain and Portugal.

/ HOW DOES TRANSHUMANCE & NOMADIC PASTORALISM CONTRIBUTE TO BIODIVERSITY /

Studies show that transhumant trails and grazing areas support a great variety of habitats, suitable for plants, small mammals, reptiles and insects while also contributing to forest management and fire control. Critical for biodiversity, and regeneration of woodlands/pastures in the valleys and mountains, Transhumance establishes ecological corridors along the cattle trails. The moving sheep supply vultures, wolves and other carnivores with an important source of food, and the continuous movement of flocks allows for a more economic use of water resources, contributing to the formation of unique landscapes.

As a sustainable activity, it is characterized by the integrated complementarity of animal and plant production. Livestock provides fertilization and seed diffusion along the way. Vertical complementarity refers to the use of grazing areas belonging to different bioclimatic zones and the practice ensures the durability of resources. Scientists underline all the particularly beneficial effects of this practice on vegetation and the conservation of local biodiversity by respectively offering two periods of biological rest to the two portions of its territory of displacement (plain and mountain).

The herders way of life as an integrated life style in harmony with the environmental cycle indicates a positive impact in terms of the conservation conditions of the habitat they live in.

/ HOW DOES THE MEDITERRANEAN CONSORTIUM FOR NATURE & CULTURE PLAN TO SUPPORT THIS PRACTICE /

We aim to pull together on Transhumance and nomadic and semi nomadic pastoralism, to establish how we can work together to advance the knowledge related to biodiversity conservation and to start to lay the basis for supporting the practice across the region.

One of our first projects in support of Transhumance and Nomadic pastoralism will be to launch a travelling photography exhibition titled ‘On the Move’.

On the Move is an exhibition of professional photography (and film) celebrating the lives, challenges and ecological knowledge of transhumant shepherds and nomadic pastoralists in the Mediterranean region. From North Africa to the Middle East, from the Iberian Peninsula
to Turkey, Greece and the Balkans, the work of 5 professional photographers will be featured in this unique travelling exhibition.

The aims of the exhibition will be:
– To celebrate and assert the great value of the ecological knowledge of transhumant herders and nomadic pastoralists;
– To raise awareness of the importance of these lifestyles for both nature and culture;
– To assist in lobbying for increased recognition and strengthened legislation;
– To raise additional funds for supporting projects that assist transhumant herders and nomadic pastoralists in relation to biodiversity conservation.

To keep up to date with On the Move and its progress, please visit www.onthemove-exhibition.com – and thank you for your support!