How can sheep help us preventing fire? – a case study from Collserole Nature Park
IMPACT Interreg Europe project, an interregional cooperation initiative that aims to find innovative models for developing socio-economic activities in Protected Areas and in which EUROPARC is a partner institution, has been an opportunity to explore different approaches on how protected area managers face the challenge of nature conservation.
Within these examples, we have come to know some cases in which partnership agreements among park management authorities and local inhabitants have been reached, helping to achieve conservation goals while supporting the economic development of local communities.
Partnership agreement with farmers
One of this cases is the Promotion of eco-pasture, or controlled grazing, as a mean to maintain both remarkable natural habitats and open spaces for fire prevention in forest areas. This initiative was seen in Collserola Nature Park, Spain, where park managers support farmers to use sheep flocks for the clearance of fire protection fringes in order to reduce the costs derived of carrying out a mechanical clearance. This case study was published in EUROPARC Knowledge Hub, our organisation´s repository of good practices, videos and many other resources that is available in our website.
Following the collection of this case study, we had the chance to do a video-interview to one of the farmers involved in this agreement. In the following short video you will get to know J.A. Montoya, a sheep farmer who after carrying his activity in Collserola Nature Park for several years was contacted by the park authorities in order to put sheep at the service of the park.
However, this is just one example among many in which partnership agreements have allowed park management authorities to reduce nature conservation costs while supporting the development of their local communities. Other similar cases were also identified during the implementation of IMPACT project, as the organisation of a sheep transhumance in order to maintain remarkable natural environments in France. In this region, eco-grazing has allowed the recovery of a local breed, the Boulonnais sheep and, moreover, has allowed multiple farmers to generate revenue from their sheep breeding which contributes to the maintenance of their farms.
About IMPACT Interreg Europe project
To end with, it is worthy to remind us that nowadays, one of the problems that are nowadays affecting European population is the migration from rural areas to the cities, which led to the abandonment of rural communities. However, initiatives like IMPACT Interreg Europe project are a good example of how we use interregional cooperation to tackle problems of this kind.