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Sheep stocking under traditional and improved grazing systems in the cereal-sheep system of Castile-La Mancha (south-central Spain)

  • Rafael Caballero (a1)

Abstract

Land-based systems of low stocking rate are usually associated with low environmental concerns. However, we hypothesized that traditional unrestructured grazing systems may represent more environmental costs than benefits. Community-based research work was conducted in the 1990s in the cereal-sheep system of Castile–La Mancha, with the objective of assessing the typology of the system, including the grazing structures and social groups involved in grazing management. Results showed that traditional management represented a heterogeneous spatio-temporal distribution of grazing at the regional level, with high variability at the local level. Occasional overgrazing may occur, but a trend towards fewer grazing-days with correspondingly more indoor feeding and widespread underuse of grazing resources was more apparent. Proposals to improve the grazing system reached a high degree of consensus among farmers, but the two social groups (cultivators and landless pastoralists) showed divergent views in some important management issues. The imbalance in group numbers indicated that collective action is difficult to achieve. Implementation of improved grazing practices would require a policy intervention based on the disentangled constraints and consensus among interested farmers.

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Keywords

Sheep stocking under traditional and improved grazing systems in the cereal-sheep system of Castile-La Mancha (south-central Spain)

  • Rafael Caballero (a1)

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