Contributions Workshop 3.3.A:
Adapting Mountain agro-food systems to climate change


ID: 490
Workshop & Poster
The Sentinel Mountain Pastures program - feedbacks from a long-term experiment in the French Alps
Keywords: mountain pastures, agro-pastoral systems, adaptation, climate change, knowledge co-creation

Crouzat, Emilie
Irstea - French National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture, France

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

In the context of climate change, mountain farming systems have to cope with both evolving climatic trends, mostly characterized by higher mean temperatures, and increased meteorological variability such as extreme frost and drought events. High altitude pastures, in the subalpine and alpine belts, are essential to many farming systems in the Alps, and also at distance due to transhumance. To answer increased pressure on vegetation and water resources, farmers using mountains pastures can develop adaptation strategies both at the level of the pasture (e.g., adapt grazing schemes, create water retention points) and at the level of the farm system (e.g., modify breeding periods, change schedule of high pastures’ use).

As a researcher at the “Laboratory of Ecosystems & Societies in Mountain Environments” (Irstea), I coordinate the scientific activities of the Sentinel Mountain Pastures program. Initiated in the early 2000s following several summer droughts in the French Alps, this long-term program aims at documenting climate change impacts and at supporting adaptive capacity of agro-pastoral systems. The program brings together the various actors involved in the management of mountain pastures (shepherds, farmers, staff of protected areas, and pastoral and farming organizations) and scientists from several disciplines (agronomy, ecology, climatology, sociology), at the scale of the French Alps. The long term collection of field data on vegetation and agro-pastoral practices complements the production of technical and methodological tools, while the program is thought as a space for collective dialogue and co-creation of knowledge.

During the IMC 2019 workshop on “Adapting Mountain agro-food systems to climate change”, I will disseminate feedback from our experience on the Sentinel Mountain Pastures program. The collective dimension of the program could be of particular interest to the audience, by showing how knowledge co-creation can support socio-ecological resilience.


ID: 545
Workshop & Poster
Wild hay making in Switzerland. One aspect of vertical agriculture from a perspective in Anthropology of Technology
Keywords: wild hay making, skilled practice, steep slope, Switzerland, scythe

Sutter, Rebekka
Ethnographic Museum at Zurich University (Switzerland)

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

no other cultivation is possible and grazing too dangerous – literally in the “wild” part of the
mountains. For a long time, Swiss alpine farmers relied on making wild hay to provide enough winter
fodder for their cattle. After the introduction of long wire ropes in the early 20th century, the traditional
stockpiling of the hay (in German: “Tristen”) and the arduous wintry sledge-transport of the hay has
been made easier and less dangerous through the installation of ziplines: the hay is usually packed in
nets and roped to the valley in huge bales. In many places, transport is even done by a helicopter. By
contrast, mowing is still done manually with scythes.
Today, wild hay is a unique example of an extensive use of grasslands, which of all mountain areas
worldwide is probably found only in the Alps – Switzerland having the largest areas left (approx. 4000
ha). The economic significance in terms of fodder is negligible, but the wild hay grasslands are
enlisted within the species-rich dry meadows inventory that states their high and specific biodiversity.
I will develop my inputs along the hypothesis of the French anthropologist François Sigaut who argues
that the importance of the scythe “can hardly be exaggerated” when looking at the historical evolution
of agriculture in Central Europe.
My focus is not on the historical development per se but rather on the scythe as a means to reflect on
skills in an environment of steep slopes – arguing that this tool perfectly illustrates the “indissoluble
relation between minds, bodies, and environment” (Marchand 2010). The theoretical background of
my paper is rooted in francophone anthropologie des techniques et du savoir faire respectively Anglo-
American anthropology of technology, skills and knowledge.


ID: 546
Workshop & Poster
Adaptation Strategies of Andean Pastoralist Households to Global Environmental Change: a 10-year Perspective
Keywords: vulnerability, resilience, Global change, Socio-ecological systems, Peru

López-i-Gelats, Feliu1; Díaz-Ruiz, Raquel2; Rivera-Ferre, Marta Guadalupe1; Paucar Sullca, Ysai3; Tunque Quispe, Miguel3; Zaravia Yauri, Esnayder3; Curasma Ccente, James3; Contreras Paco, José Luis3
1University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia, Spain; 2CREDA-UPC-IRTA, Spain; 3Universidad Nacional de Huancavelica, Peru 

Workshop and Poster Abstract: 

Andean pastoralist households are well used to develop institutions, practices and ecological knowledge with large capacity of adaptation to the harsh and variable conditions of the semi-arid and mountainous character of the Andes. However, in the last decades, as a consequence of internal and external drivers, comprising both climate and non-climate drivers, their range of adaptability seems to be constraining, as shown by the existence of a weakening asset base, the prevalence of large inequalities in land and livestock access. The climate drivers comprise glacier retreat, temperature increase, greater frequency in droughts, greater frequency in frost events and intense precipitations; whereas the non-climate drivers include population growth, integration into the market economy, dismissal of pastoralist practices and knowledge and lack of public services. However, the evolution in time of the adaptation strategies Andean pastoralist households conduct remain largely understudied. Here we identified the diverse adaptation pathways pastoralist households are undergoing in Central Andes, particularly in the region of Huancavelica, and its evolution in the last decade. Thus, interviews were conducted to Andean pastoralist of Huancavelica in 2011 (53) and in 2018 (88). While in 2011 accumulation of livestock and trust in the traditional economy were the strategies mostly employed by wealthier pastoralist households, and further market integration and asset diversification were the strategies mainly developed by the less well-off pastoralist households; we are now in process of examining the evolution of the different pathways identified in 2011 into 2018.


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