Rocky pasture restoration via controlled grazing in the area of the Krka National Park

Through traditional animal husbandry, a five-member family has prevented the succession of 500 m2 of pastures with 300 sheep of Dalmatian Pramenka, 50 Coloured goats and 10 Buša cows.

People

1

Money

EUR 4,000

Time

3 years

Organization

Public Institution of Krka National Park

Country

Croatia

Location

Krka National Park

Protection level

Project example
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Achievements
  • A five-member family lives from cattle braeding
  • Preservation of 300 heads of autochthonous Dalmatian Pramenka (sheep) and 50 heads of Coloured goats + 10 Buša cows
  • Succession prevented on 500 m2 of pastures (20 quadrants of 25 m2)

Problem/opportunity

Problem
  • Changes in the socioeconomic and population structure of the inhabitants, the elderly population has remained, the younger population has left
  • Negative change in the composition of plant species and the structure of the green cover – succession. Pastures earlier used for grazing were overgrown with shrubby vegetation today mostly composed of juniper with individual trees of Aleppo pine. Such type of vegetation has significantly less biodiversity and species richness in comparison to rocky types of vegetation.
  • Closed waterfalls due to vegetation succession
  • Terrain inaccessible to people
  • Restricted fire control
Opportunity
  • Long-standing grazing tradition in the area
  • Guaranteed ecological grazing and increase in the quality of the meat (ecologically certified meat)
  • The local population’s, i.e. the livestock owners’ willingness to cooperate
  • Increased offer of the park and interdisciplinarity – apiculturists use pasture for bee foraging (10 in the wider area of the Park)
  • Possible income for the local population

Planning

Pre-requisites for success

Management plan that allows grazing in some parts of the protected area

The Nature Protection Act allows animal husbandry within the protected area

Support of the competent Ministry of Environment and Energy and the Croatian Agency for the Environment and Nature

Initial idea
The disappearance and overgrowth of pastures and grassland in the area of the Park – succession sparked the whole process.
Strategies
Part of the National Park Krka Management Plan adopted in 2011

Implementation

Project key stages
  1. Implementation of the action plan
  2. Field scouting: selection of the pastures (Rogovo) and the number of livestock (300 heads of Dalmatian Pramenka sheep and 50 heads of Croatian White or Coloured goat + 10 Buša cows), and the required duration of the project to see the positive change in nature
  3. Selection of the implementer (livestock owner) in the field
  4. The signing of the agreement on cooperation
  5. Herd monitoring by the shepherds, herding breeds of dogs (primarily autochthonous Tornjak and Croatian Sheepdog) and setting up of electric shepherds in order to manage the conflict with the wolves that live in the area
  6. The owner removes the unwanted woody vegetation on the surfaces of manual tools and machines in agreement with and according to the instructions of the public institution NP Krka
  7. The institution conducts monitoring of the grassland species (monitoring of the colonization of species, abundance, ground cover and the dynamics of the colonization) and communicates the results to the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the Croatian agency for the environment and nature.
  8. For the purposes of the specified monitoring the livestock owner is obliged to keep records of the number and formation of the livestock in certain pastures on a daily basis, in accordance with the instructions of the Institution.

Change

Positive effects on environment

Restoration of habitats (prevention of succession) and reduction of fire hazard. Preservation of autochthonous breeds (Dalmatian Pramenka, Coloured goats, Buša cows, Tornjak, Croatian Sheepdog).

Positive economic and social changes

Public sector (protected area)

Economic: The workforce of the public institution NP Krka in charge of the maintenance, tools and fuel.

Social: The beginning of cooperation with the livestock farmers, enabling traditional usage of space, an increase in the offer of the Park, direct involvement of the local population in the work of the protected area - a good relationship with the local population guarantees the protection of the Park.

For the local population

Economic: Cost savings since there is no need to pay concession to Hrvatske šume.

Social: A positive example of cooperation with the local community. The preservation of the traditional animal husbandry and motivating the population to engage in animal husbandry. The possibility of bigger herds and grazing areas.
Retention of people in the area and indirect support to demographic renewal.

Scientific community

Economic: The partner that conducts monitoring of the pastures on which two different approaches are applied – controlled burning and grazing – is paid by the Park for their services.

Social: The results of the research will be available to all and will allow others to select the most favourable approach.

Recommendations

Having in mind the success of the first results and the positive changes the same approach could be replicated in other pastures in the Krka National Park.

Facilitating placement of products of the livestock farmers who are active within the Park (and other users, e.g. apiculturists) to motivate others to get involved.

Sustainability

The involvement of the local population in preventing the succession of the grasslands so they can also benefit from it, not just nature.

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