How to prepare for climate change in mountain pastures

As they provide food for a large number of herds during the summer, the 3000 recorded mountain pastures in the Alps are considered key spaces for livestock farming systems. They accommodate an exceptional level of biodiversity and are used by humans for economic or recreational activities (walking, hunting, forest exploitation, etc.). However, climate change is significantly weakening this environment, as highlighted by the recurring droughts of the 2000s. In order to help stakeholders managing mountain pastures better understand and anticipate the impact of climate change on animal husbandry, and to preserve fodder resources and the ecological quality of this environment, Hermann Dodier and Baptiste Nettier from Irstea’s Grenoble center in partnership with Christophe Chaix [1] have created an online technical guide.

Rethinking pasture management in mountain pastures

Reduced periods of snow cover and higher temperatures: these observable and potential changes "will remain sustainable for Alpine communities if adaptive measures are taken now, alongside the necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions," specify the authors of the guide Understanding Climate Change in Mountain Pastures. In this context, the book provides specific insight into:

  • The way in which climate change is presenting in the Alps
  • The specific impact on mountain pasture resources and the associated animal husbandry activities

The guide is the result of research performed by the Réseau Alpages Sentinelles (network of mountain pasture indicators), a data collection program involving shepherds, livestock farmers, agricultural and livestock technicians, managers of protected spaces and researchers that aims to manage the biodiversity of mountain pastures sustainably and collectively in the face of climate change.

 

Read the guide Understanding Climate Change in Mountain Pastures (26p.)

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[1] Asadac MPD