Molnár Zs., Kis J., Vadász Cs. et al: Common and conflicting objectives and (2016)

Molnár Zsolt, Kis József, Vadász Csaba, Papp László, Sándor István, Béres Sándor, Sinka Gábor, Varga Anna
Common and conflicting objectives and practices of herders and conservation managers: the need for a conservation herder
Ecosystem Health and Sustainability 2:(4) Paper e01215. 16 p.

The mutual dependence of extensive land-use and conservation management has become apparent in Europe in the last 20–30 yr. Extensive land-use often survives in protected areas only, in the form of conservation management. Knowledge of extensive herding and that of conservation management are parts of two knowledge systems (traditional and scientific) which often leads to conflicts between locals and conservationists. We studied two herding/conservation systems (salt steppes and wood-pastures), and developed an inventory on the common/similar and conflicting/different objectives and pasture management practices of herders and conservationists. Data were collected by participatory knowledge co-production in teamwork of the co-authors (herders, conservation managers, and scientists). Data were analyzed and discussed in teamwork too. Herders and conservationists identified 23 objectives and 29 management practices. We found a number of common interests with respect to herding, the ideal state of pastures, legal provisions, and communication. Conflict resolution recommendations (e.g., on time and place of grazing, pasture improvements) were also developed. We argue that by co-production of knowledge, and establishment of a herder “school” the mitigation of the existing conflicts would be more effective. Our conclusion is that a new profession is needed: that of the conservation herder. The conservation herder shall be an individual knowledgeable about herding and pasture management, trained in conservation and ecology, able to design management experiments, and develop novel but tradition-based management practices. As such, he/she could facilitate adaptation of extensive herding in the changing socio-economic environment.