September 13, 2019
The Project “RTA: Silvopastoralism as an adaptation strategy for integrated rural development in the Mediterranean” is being carried out in conjunction with the Agrifood Research and Technology Centre of Aragón (CITA). The main objective of the project is to design integrated management strategies in the Mediterranean, combining extensive livestock farming and agroforestry ecosystems, as a basis for resilient rural development under the context of global change. Lluçanès was chosen as the case study area in Catalonia to analyze whether the coordination between farmers and forest owners may reduce the vulnerability of both sectors, thereby improving the services that they provide to society. The consortium of Lluçanès and the Forest Owners’ Association started a program involving farmers and owners five years ago, in order to enhance grazing in the forest and control the undergrowth to reduce fire hazards.
Lluçanès is a Catalan sub-county officially formed by villages from Bages, Berguedà, and Osona counties. Situated between the pre-Pyrenees and the valley, the area is characterized by an interspersion of cropland with vast forest spaces, where grazing and transhumance have traditionally played an important role.
In the months of July and August, Antonio Lecegui, Elsa Varela, and Carmen Capdevila from CREDA-UPC-IRTA visited the county weekly to address the three first specific objectives of the project, and to interview different owners and farmers to understand their predispositions toward silvopastoral practices. The interviews were focused on their valuation of grazing in the forest and on other aspects related to herd management techniques, the use of the forest, innovations, and family structure. The purpose was to predict the characteristics that encourage (or discourage) the silvopastoral use of the territory, as well as to identify the successful elements in the pre-existing agreements between farmers and forest owners.
The information collected will help in the definition of indicators that explain the differences among the different typologies of farmers and forest owners in relation to silvopastoral uses, which is the task to be completed in the following months.