In April 2021, OREKA MENDIAN published a booklet of good practices showcasing 31 inspiring examples for the sustainable management of mountain grasslands gathered across 18 European countries. These good practices will inspire farmers, breeders and other local actors to increase the biodiversity of mountain grasslands, tackled climate change impacts and better market their products, among many others.
OREKA MENDIAN is a seven-year project (2016-2022) funded by the European Union’s LIFE Programme. It aims to develop a preservation strategy for mountain grasslands in the Basque country (France & Spain).
Why do we focus on mountain grasslands?
Grasslands cover 15.9% of the area of the EU-28 and represent the third most dominant ecosystem in Europe and one of the most widespread habitats in mountains. Besides being central to food production, mountain grasslands deliver a number of public goods and ecosystem services of great added value to the EU such as food production, carbon storage, recreational and cultural services.
Mountain grasslands have an important, yet under-recognised, role to play in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the EU Green Deal.
Nonetheless, mountain grasslands are seriously endangered by climate change and socio-economic pressures. Today, more than 75% of the grassland area in the EU-28 is considered to have an unfavourable conservation status.
Why support their sustainable management?
Permanent grasslands are the only habitat whose conservation status generally deteriorates when they are not managed. The state of mountain grasslands – and thus, the services and goods they provide – depends on environmental and socio-economic factors.
Changes in the environment and climatic conditions, unsustainable management practices and socio-economic changes are strongly affecting grasslands in European mountains. For this reason, to preserve mountain grasslands, we should consider all three dimensions of sustainability: the environment, the economy, and society.
The OREKA MENDIAN booklet is available in English, French and Spanish.
Want to know more?
In September 2021, the LIFE OREKA MENDIAN project will publish a study of the current status of mountain grasslands throughout Europe. If you want to know more about past Euromontana activities related to the OREKA MENDIAN project and pastoralism, check out on the project’s website at: www.lifeorekamendian.eu20 April 2021