The value of pastoralism in mountain areas,

Despite the importance of pastoralism, which in many mountain regions supports the settlement and subsistence of populations and contributes to reducing the risk of fire, there is still a lack of appreciation and participation of pastoralists in the planning of strategies and initiatives aimed at land management.

With around 500 million shepherds worldwide, pastoralism is responsible for significant socio-economic and environmental contributions in more than 100 countries. In Europe, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), it is estimated that there are around 15 million hectares devoted to agropastoral systems. In Portugal, permanent pastures (natural and improved) account for approximately 1.92 million hectares.

The importance of pastoralism in Portugal is recognised in the texts of the first charters and reinforced by other authors due to the economic, social, environmental, historical and cultural importance it represents for many rural territories. It is especially in the higher altitude territories that pastoral activity has the greatest tradition.

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