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Sharing experience and good practices for the sustainable use of Alpine grasslands in Natura 2000 sites

STEP, Bulgaria

Between 21st and 25th September 2015, a study tour was held near Raumberg, Austria to exchange experience and good practices on the sustainable use of mountain pastures. The trip was organized by EFNCP-member, the Society for Territorial and Environmental Prosperity (STEP, Bulgaria) and hosted by the Institute for Plant Production and Landscape Management (HBLFA, Austria), and was funded by the Arkleton Trust. Bulgarian farmers from Godech municipality, representatives of Godech municipality and of the Local action group "Berkovitza-Godech", as well as STEP experts and volunteers participated in the study tour.

At the fields and farms of the Federal Education and Research Institute Raumberg-Gumpenstein

At the fields and farms of the Federal Education and Research Institute Raumberg-Gumpenstein

The exchange of information, knowledge and experience took place on the farms, pastures and experimental fields of the Institute and in the Technical School for Agriculture and Alpine Farming. Karl Buchgraber, Head of HBLFA, presented the results of the trials performed over the last 50 years to create grass-seed mixtures for mountain pastures; livestock breeding experiments in the demonstration farms of the Institute; the advantages of the different livestock types and breeds, and their important role in maintaining the biodiversity and landscapes of Natura 2000 alpine grasslands and in protecting groundwater resources.

At Grabnerhof  (Technical School for Agriculture and Alpine Farming) goat farm

At Grabnerhof (Technical School for Agriculture and Alpine Farming) goat farm

The group visited pilot farms that implement the grassland management practices and livestock breeding strategies recommended by the Institute. Extensive livestock farmers shared their experience with some techniques like rotational grazing and mowing, adjusting livestock densities, spreading of manure, reseeding pastures, and they also explained the equipment used and the skills required of farm employees.

At Thonnerhof family farm

At Thonnerhof family farm

The Bulgarian farmers and the experts from Godech and STEP appreciated the constantly evolving grassland management practices in Austria, which include adaptation to climate change, introduction of new technologies and innovative solutions to optimize working conditions and animal care, all in a framework of sustainable use of natural resources, biodiversity conservation and environment protection.

Lipizzaner horse rearing station in Piber

Another of the field visits was to the Lipizzaner horse rearing station in Piber, where we learnt about breeding and selection techniques, as well as about the role of horses in the maintenance of pastures.

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European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism
Online: http://www.efncp.org/news/news20150925.php
Date: 2017/12/14
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