75% of Europe’s grasslands are in an unfavourable conservation status. This is the observation shared by Euromontana during Oreka Mendian’s final seminar in Arantzazu (Spain) last 15 October. Grasslands are the third most important habitat in the European Union, after forests and arable land. However, a large majority of them are in poor condition due to overgrazing or, on the contrary, land abandonment.
Grassland conservation can be improved through better management and policy
A large proportion of grasslands are in an unfavourable inadequate conservation status, stressed Blandine Camus, Communication & Policy Officer at Euromontana: this means that these habitats are not currently threatened by extinction and that a change in management or policy could improve their conservation.
Within the framework of the LIFE Oreka Mendian project, which works towards better management of mountain grasslands in the Basque Country, Euromontana analysed the state of conservation of Europe’s grasslands and formulated recommendations.
A booklet of good practices for the sustainable management of mountain grasslands presents initiatives to be transferred to promote the economic, social and environmental sustainability of pastoralism (available in English, French and Spanish). In addition, the state of conservation of grasslands and the different policies that promote sustainable practices are presented in a policy report (available in English, French and Spanish).
Concrete actions for the restoration of mountain grasslands
On 16 October, participants were able to observe on the ground the benefits of this LIFE funded project. In the pastures surrounding Arantzazu, different techniques were used to rehabilitate the grasslands: mechanical clearing, placing salt blocks to attract livestock in the least grazed areas or creating new water points.
All project activities and the conclusions of the Oreka Mendian final seminar will also soon be available on the project website.
Oreka Mendian was also recently presented at the XII European Mountain Convention for its smart management of natural resources. More information is available in the Convention brochure of initiatives (available in English, French and Italian).1 December 2022