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Current situation and future prospects of livestock farming around a Pyrenean ski resort

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Authors: I. Casasús, J.A. Rodríguez Sánchez y A. Sanz
Issue: 110-1 (71-88)
Topic: Animal Production
Keywords: Mountain farming, ski resorts, livestock management, farmers’ attitudes

In some mountain areas ski resorts coexist with farming activities, modifying the socio-economic environment and providing synergies but also antagonisms in certain aspects. In order to determine the effect of a ski resort on livestock farming systems in its surroundings, a structured interview was conducted with all farmers whose herds (314 adult cows and 75 mares) grazed during the summer on pastures within a Pyrenean ski station (Aramón-Panticosa, Huesca). Information on labour, herd size, land use, management and technical performance of cattle and horses was collected, as well as recent dynamics and prospective changes under the current socio-economic circumstances and different scenarios, and their objectives and opinions about several issues. When compared with that of similar areas, farm management and performance was similar except for the high farmers’ pluriactivity (60%). Continuity of the farms was ensured on a medium term, but might be low in the long run due to lack of succession. Farms were stable in terms of size and management, and few changes were envisaged in the future in the current socio-economic conditions. However, if they changed or different agricultural polices were implemented, farm structure and technical management may be considerably modified. Regarding their objectives, they considered that economic aspects and those related to their family’s quality of life were crucial, while technical objectives were less important. Concerning their opinions about tourism, they considered that the valley and indirectly their farming activity had benefitted from the ski resort, mostly due to the alternatives for economic diversification that it provided, while in turn it profited from the ecosystem services provided by livestock grazing.

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