Region: Monti Sibillini National Park / Marche, Italy
Climate, geography, and demographics:
• 714 km2
• Temperate oceanic climate
• 1200 mm yearly rainfall
• 600–2450 m a.s.l.
• 30% of total area is permanent grassland-dominated
• Population of around 22 000 residents distributed amongst 18 municipalities
Pastoral activities, products and services: Sheep (mainly transhumant), cattle, and mixed livestock farms (mainly sedentary) are based on extensive grazing on permanent grasslands in summer. Main products include meat (lamb), milk and sometimes cheese (sheep systems), and calves (cow-calf systems). APS have had a strong influence on the territory, and farmers participate locally in Agri-Environmental Agreements for the conservation and management of grassland habitats within Natura 2000 sites.
History and context of current challenges: Since the 1960s, the number of animals has been decreasing but the number of farms (and the population in many villages) has been decreasing drastically.
This crisis in the traditional breeding method caused modifications to the secondary grasslands that are often affected by vegetation dynamics, mostly large areas (i.e., private, public, and collective property) under customary grazing rights. Nevertheless, APS still have a fundamental role in biodiversity conservation and related ES (e.g., landscape and prevention of wildfires). Current issues facing agro-pastoral communities in the region include the design of sustainable management practices (i.e., stocking densities and calendars, grazing and pasture management), access to agri-environmental payments, access to grazing lands, and complications after the 2016-2017 earthquake.
This CS will investigate the strategies defined by the APS community for the continuity of the systems, and the facilitation process for the co-design of management measures for biodiversity conservation and improvement in the provision of ES.