Transhumance provides great benefits, not only environmental, for society as a whole. The passage of livestock increases the fertility of our soils threatened by desertification, by incorporating manure and other vegetables. Some of the most important forests in Spain (pine forests of Guadarrama or the Serranía de Cuenca, the beech and oak forests of the Cantabrian coast or the holm oak and cork oak forests of Andalusia and Extremadura) have been developed and preserved by the cattle passing through their lands. In addition, animals feed on highly combustible matter, which is an important aid in fighting fires.
The transhumant animals
Transhumant animals directly benefit biodiversity, by conserving numerous native breeds in danger of extinction. The effects are also positive for the flora, by contributing to the dispersal of seeds.
On the other hand, this type of livestock is the most efficient, taking advantage of grazing surfaces, consuming resources that do not compete with human food. This allows herds to be almost self – sufficient, not depending on their supply of feed imported and altered.
But despite all the advantages, the families of transhumant ranchers find it increasingly difficult to continue their activity. Transhumant livestock is an example of respect for the environment but in danger of extinction.
Currently there are just over 300,000 head of transhumant cattle in Spain, compared to the 5,000,000 we had in the last century.
Benefits of transhumance
This livestock system provides great benefits for the ecosystem but also for society; Mainly because the passage of livestock increases the fertility of soils that are in threat of desertification, incorporating manure and other plant debris in their path. On the other hand, transhumant livestock is the most efficient in terms of taking advantage of grazing surfaces, using resources that do not compete with human food; phenomenon that enables the herd to be almost self-sufficient. Here the animals feed on a matter that could be defined as fuel that helps effectively to fight fires.
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