The FireShepherds
Project

Meet our Project

Presentation

The Project Shepherds from the XXIst century: increasing professionalism in the management of extensive livestock, wildfires and landscape in the era of global change, also known as FireShepherds, is an Erasmus+ project that started at the beginning of 2019 with the aim to prepare next generations of Shepherds in the management of extensive livestock with wildfire prevention purposes. Partners from the consortium come from different European regions: Catalonia, Extremadura, Gran Canaria, Portugal, Germany and South France

The project has its basis on different common problems that the project regions are currently facing: the decrease of shepherds working with animals in extensive regime and the large wildfires that visit us every summer. In the first case, silvopastoralism has always been a common practice in the Mediterranean region, being characterized for the presence of extensive livestock grazing in forest ecosystems. The exploitation of the vegetation of these areas brings a wide range of ecosystem services to society such as high-quality meat and milk, biomass extraction, cultural landscapes or wildfire prevention. However, the lack of chances to make silovopastoralism an economically sustainable activity has caused an important descent of exploitations. In the second case, wildfires are visiting Europe every summer with more intensity and more hectares burnt, like recent episodes in Portugal or Greece, compromising the safety of extinction services and neighbors, and the recovering of ecosystems, as well.

For the reasons explained above, it is very important to start managing the forest again, as it was done decades ago. To do so, a proper training of shepherds from the next generations is a key action if we want to achieve a fire resilient landscape.

Objectives

The project was born with the aim of creating a cooperation network among European shepherds’ schools, shepherds and pubic administrations to exchange good practices in the development of silvopastoralism and wildfire resilient landscapes. More specifically, we pretend to design an elaborate a study module for shepherds schools about silvopastoralism, apart from sharing successful experiences from the different regions involved in the project. The consortium has a transnational perspective because of the increasing wildfires crisis and grazing regression that Europe is passing through.

The network that we want to create will be composed of academic partners, but also different non-academic bodies involved in the management of certain areas. These two visions collaborate to feed with contents the study module, and to exchange the results of different real experiences. At the same time, the study module will be part of shepherds schools study programs dealing with issues such as livestock management, wildfire risk, landscape change or public-private land management.

Actions

FireShepherds project has two main actions. On the one hand, we organize intern exchanges between the different partners of the consortium, were we meet during 3 to 5 days in one of the regions from the project to visit successful experiences regarding grazing and landscape management like extensive livestock exploitations, prescribed burnings, slaughterhouses, recent burnt areas, etc. In these exchanges or trainings, each academic partner invites several students so they can gain experience as see different ideas from other countries.

On the other hand, another key action of the project are the intellectual outputs (IO). There are going to be 4 different IO developed during the project: shepherds competence analysis, study module, study platform to host the module and best practices factsheets.

Intellectual Outputs

Intellectual Outputs are the palpable results of the project. Results that will be opened to everyone willing to learn things about silvopastoralism and wildfire prevention. These Outputs will be also used for shepherds schools in their lessons. As mentioned before, there are 4 outputs:

Competence analysis

It consists on an analysis of the competences that next generations of shepherds should have regarding land management. It consists on new or old skills that shepherds should learn in order to be competitive regarding sales without forgetting the management of the land they graze. This analysis is the first step of the project and the basis to know how to prepare the study module.

Study module

Academic partners of the project will design, elaborate and test a study module to tech at shepherds schools dealing with silvopastoralism and wildfires management. The module is meant to have both, a theory part and a practicum part, as well as a specific part depending on the region. During the last stage of the project, academic partners will test the module an its contents to make improvements.

Study platform

Online platform that will be used to host the study module.

Collection of best practices about silvopastoralism and wildfires management

This output will be used as a complement of the study module. For each successful experience visited during trainings, a factsheet summarizing the case will be prepared and uploaded to the study module.