Region: El Pallars Sobirà / Catalonia, Spain
Climate, geography, and demographics:
• 1378 km2
• Mediterranean and Alpine climate zones
• 700-1500 mm yearly rainfall at 2000 m a.s.l.
• Diverse landscapes, from alpine grasslands mountain peaks to hay meadows in valley floors
• 90% of the territory is steeper than 20%
• Protected nature reserves > 80% of entire land
• Population of 7625 distributed amongst 134 villages, most with < 30 inhabitants (5.5 people/km2) – one of the least-densely populated areas in Spain
Pastoral activities, products and services: Small, family-run activities based on extensive management of the herd between alpine grasslands in summer and hay meadow lowlands in winter. Main products include meat from cows, sheep, and goats, but there has recently been an increase in local artisanal cheese-making.
History and context of current challenges: Since 1980, the number of farms in the region has been decreasing. The economic importance of agriculture over this time also decreased, with an increasing contribution of the service-based sector. Meanwhile, neo-rurals (new-coming pastoralists) have emerged alongside long-standing and returning members of pastoral communities. Other factors affecting APS in the region include integration into the globalized market economy, introduction of new species (bears, ungulates, vultures), and the emergence of new demands on the rural space (including competition from a ski and outdoor activity-focused tourism industry).
This CS will investigate the adaptive strategies utilized by selected surviving agro-pastoral communities amidst increasing challenges and the general decline in agro-pastoral activities.