Institut for Biologi

Aarhus Universitets segl

J.-C. Svenning

Traditional free-ranging livestock farming as a management strategy for biological and cultural landscape diversity: A case from the southern apennines

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  • Claudia Troiano, Department of Humanities, University of Naples Federico II
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  • Maria Buglione, University of Naples Federico II
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  • Simona Petrelli, University of Naples Federico II
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  • Sofia Belardinelli, University of Naples Federico II
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  • Antonino De Natale, University of Naples Federico II
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  • Jens Christian Svenning
  • Domenico Fulgione, University of Naples Federico II

Mediterranean mountain landscapes are undergoing a widespread phenomenon of aban-donment. This brings, as a consequence, the loss of traditional land use practices, such as transhumant pastoralism, as well as shrub and wood encroachment, with repercussions on the biodiversity associated with semi-open, human-managed landscapes. In this study, we focus on a mountain pasture from the Southern Apennines (Italy), where free-ranging transhumant grazing is still carried out, to quantify the effects of grazing presence and exclusion on arthropod diversity, and to qualitatively characterize the plant communities of grazed and ungrazed areas. Using field sampling, remote sensing, and semi-structured interviews, we assessed the validity of traditional cattle farming as a landscape management tool. Indeed, high diversity grasslands excluded from grazing were char-acterized by significantly less even and more dominated arthropod communities, as well as fewer plant species and families. Moreover, in areas that have been consistently grazed over the years, we found no forest encroachment from 1955 to 2019. However, rural communities are experiencing difficulties in keeping local traditions alive, even with current agri-environmental schemes. Thus, traditional livestock grazing can be a valuable management tool to maintain high biological and cultural diversity, even if stronger cooperation and attention to local needs is necessary.

StatusUdgivet - sep. 2021

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