Governance and resilience in wildfire prevention management: the role of pastoralism in Andalusia and Catalonia.


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A study comparing the systems of usage of extensive livestock breeding for fire prevention in two regions against the theoretical elements of resilience and governance.

Complexity is inherent to the management of natural resources in the Mediterranean. Developing governance models that acknowledge it, may play a key role in improving the resilience of socio-ecological systems towards wildfires. Changes in land uses, climate or fire behavior have led to scenarios that current management structures are failing to address properly. Control grazing initiatives for wildfire prevention, beyond improving the ecosystem resilience, may also represent also a change in the reactive institutional behavior, promoting social diversity as a source of organizational renewal in periods of crisis.

The study adopts the complex socio-ecological systems (SES) framework to make a preliminary comparison between the control grazing payment schemes that have been developed in Andalusia and Catalonia. More specifically, we discuss the contribution of these schemes to the governance of these socioecological systems and their resilience towards wildfires.

Controlled grazing initiatives may represent an opportunity to improve wildfire management. However, their implementation may still reproduce dynamics that sacrifice resilience, flexibility and adaptation capacity due to pursuing management stability as the primary objective. The study recommends considering the pastoral activity from an integral perspective, where payment mechanisms are one of the tools available when aiming for a management that promotes socio-ecological resilience. 

Note: the paper is available in Spanish under the original title “Gobernanza y resiliencia en la gestión preventiva de incendios: el papel del pastoreo en Andalucía y Cataluña”.


Full reference:

Varela Redondo, E., López-i-Gelats, F., Pauné Fabré, F., Górriz-Mifsud, E. & Ciprés Lalaguna, B. 2017. Governance and resilience in wildfire prevention management: the role of pastoralism in Andalusia and Catalonia. Pastos, 47(1): 6–23.