The Spanish case study is located in Pallars Sobirà in the Catalan Pyrenees, wherein despite land abandonment and a reduction of primary activities, pastoral systems are still alive and play a significant role in the lives of these mountain valleys.
Hay meadows in this region are found in patches on mountain slopes at mid-high altitudes and are populated by rich communities of herbaceous plants, thus constituting a valuable resource for pastoral communities.
Traditional management of these meadows consists of swathing at the beginning and end of the summer season (i.e., the beginning of June and late July/mid August). The harvest is stored in a silo and is used to feed the animals during harsh winter months. The meadows are also pastured and fertilized by the animals in the beginning of spring and in autumn, as the livestock herds migrate towards and return from the mountain pastures, respectively.
This traditional management is being abandoned gradually, and nowadays simplified management procedures (e.g., pasturing by herds without swathing, or seeding with commercial varieties to increase the harvest) coexist alongside traditional practices.
We hypothesize that these ecosystems may constitute a key resource for wild pollinators, hence fulfilling a significant role in the provision of pollination-related services. Hence, within WP2 of PACTORES, we will assess the diversity and abundance of pollinators in these ecosystems.
The PhD candidate at CREDA, Mathias Brummer, has been in contact with the pastoralists who have kindly granted us access to their meadows to set up this experiment. In mid May we visited the selected swath meadows to validate them with the help of the CREAF team that will support CREDA and UVIC in this experiment.