Main authors: Cecilia De Ita, Lindsay C. Stringer, Luuk Fleskens, Diana Sietz
Contributing authors: Ioannis K. Tsanis, Ioannis N. Daliakopoulos, Ioanna Panagea, Michalakis Christoforou, Giovanni Quaranta, Rosanna Salvia, Sandra Valente, Cristina Ribeiro, Cláudia Fernandes, Oscar González-Pelayo, Jan Jacob Keizer, Alejandro Valdecantos, V. Ramón Vallejo and Susana Bautista
Editor: Jane Brandt
Source document: De Ita, C. et al. (2017) Report on multi-scale evaluation of CASCADE's management principles and grazing model scenarios with stakeholders and policy makers. CASCADE Project Deliverable 8.3 69 pp


With contributions from land users and land managers, CASCADE has produced a number of guidelines for land managers in the form of principles and recommendations for SLM (Figure 1). For details see

»Guidelines for natural resource managers
»Guidelines for land managers: the forest fire context
»Guidelines for land managers: the land abandonment context
»Guidelines for land managers: the overgrazing context

D8.3 fig08

The principles and recommendations were discussed with land users and land managers through workshops in each study site. Six stakeholder workshops were carried out by the CASCADE team during the period August 2016 to February 2017. Only one was held in Spain where there were two study sites, but two were held in Cyprus.

Workshop methodology

Study sites recruited 6-12 stakeholders who were previously engaged with CASCADE activities, many of whom had participated in previous workshops (see Table 1). The first workshop was held in Italy as a pilot workshop, after which the methods and the workshop protocol were further refined. Two workshops were held in Cyprus, as there is mistrust and conflicting stand points between local stakeholders and land managers and decision makers from the government (see »Randi Forest, Cyprus: Stakeholder workshop to evaluate SLM guidelines and scenario analysis).

Given the nature of the jobs and the traditional gender division of work in pastoralist and farming societies, many of the stakeholders were males. The research aimed to have a representative sample, therefore no especial effort was made towards one gender specifically. Although various government positions in Cyprus and Crete are held by females, they did not attend the workshops, despite being invited. One female was at the Portuguese workshop. As technicians and government representatives were invited to the workshops and there is a more even gender balance in the number of females holding jobs relevant to the stakeholder context in Italy and Spain, three females attended the stakeholder workshop in each of these countries.

Table 1: Principles discussed, date and number of participants of the stakeholder workshops carried out in the study sites.

Study site Guidelines and/or scenarios on: Date of workshop Number of participants
Castelsaraceno, Italy Land abandonment guidelines
• Forest fires guidelines
• Grazing guidelines
 31 Aug 2016 10
Albatera & Ayora, Spain • Land abandonment guidelines
• Forest fires guidelines
25 Jan 2017 14
Várzea, Portugal  • Forest-fire guidelines (adapted version for Post fire management) 15 Dec 2016 12
Randi Forest, Cyprus • Grazing guidelines
• Grazing Model/Scenarios
28 Jan 2017
6 Feb 2017
Messara, Crete • Grazing guidelines
• Grazing Model/Scenarios
10 Feb 2017 5

During the workshops the management guidelines from the grazing, land abandonment and forest fire guidelines (see »Guidelines for natural resource managers) were presented, distributed and discussed among the participants according to the specific study site issues under consideration (see Table 2).

Table 2: Overgrazing, land abandonment, fire and post fire management principles presented in study site workshops.
The principles relevant in each study site are marked x under the country’s column.

1. Reduction of vegetation increases soil erosion, leading to less fertile soil and less productive pastures. x x      
2. Integrating trees and pastures has ecological and socio-economic benefits x x      
3. Pest management requires an integrated ecosystem approach to promote natural predators x x      
4. Animal types and herd composition influence plant diversity and health. x x   x  
5. Controlled grazing reduces risk of fires, and maintains grass species and productivity of pastures x x   x  
6. After a fire or drought continued grazing could lead to a permanent change in pasture productivity and quality x x      
1. The environment of abandoned land can change in unexpected and diverse ways: it might not continue to provide the same services, and degraded land might not recover spontaneously       x x
2.Environmental changes regarding vegetation, soil and water after land abandonment can lead to new risks that require specific management       x x
3. Land that is not used or economically valuable at present can be used in the future       x x
4. Labour availability is a constraint in abandonment-prone areas       x x
5. After a fire or drought continued grazing could lead to a permanent change in pasture productivity and quality         x
1. Minimizing fuel load and connectivity reduce fire risk         x
2. Diversity of species reduces flammability, as well as outbreaks of pests, and thus leads to reduced fire hazards. In particular, promoting re-sprouters facilitates recovery after fire.         x
3. Sufficient soil cover shortly after a fire reduces risk of soil erosion       x x
1. Ensuring high soil cover, both after fire and after post-fire forestry operations, reduces the risk of erosion and of soil fertility losses     x    
2. Minimize the impacts of post fire forest operations (logging and extraction of wood and logging residues) on vegetation, litter and soil     x    
3. Recover degraded areas with lack of spontaneous regeneration of pine trees.     x    

During the workshops, researchers first presented a brief introduction and update on the CASCADE project’s work, followed by presentation of key policies at local/national/EU levels relevant to the study site. If a local policy stakeholder had agreed to participate in the workshop, an invitation was extended to them to give a short presentation on the key policies in their area that addressed the main CASCADE issues being considered. This offer was accepted in Italy where a presentation was given by the representative of the Shepherds’ Union, and in Portugal where a national representative from the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests Policies, carried out a presentation about financial programmes for post-fire management and burnt area rehabilitation. A discussion about the stakeholders’ views of the principles, the barriers and opportunities for implementing them, and about relevant policies formed the final element of the workshops. In Cyprus and Crete, a discussion about the model results for grazing scenarios was also carried out (see »Improving SLM using land management scenario analysis).

Discussions considered the following questions (which were adapted as necessary by the study site teams) regarding the land management principles, in order to explore opportunities for and barriers to their implementation:

  1. Can you apply the principles and recommendations? If not, why not?
  2. Would you include any further principles or recommendations?
  3. Do the policies support the principles and recommendations? If not, where are the gaps? What needs to be done to address the gaps?

The research questions and methods varied slightly among the study sites depending on the characteristics of the stakeholders and principles. To discuss the relevance of the scenario analysis with the potential users of grazing scenarios, the results of the model simulations were tested against the stakeholders’ perceptions in Cyprus and Crete. Stakeholders were asked how realistically the model results reflect the vegetation trends, how feasible the management principles are, and potentially if any sites are restored, how grazing interacted with restoration. The following questions were asked during the workshops in Crete and Cyprus (for more details see »Messara, Greece: Stakeholder workshop to evaluate SLM guidelines and scenario analysis and »Randi Forest, Cyprus: Stakeholder workshop to evaluate SLM guidelines and scenario analysis).

  • Q1 Do the model simulations realistically reflect trends of vegetation degradation and recovery observed in the study sites? If not, why not?
  • Q2 Considering the model simulations, do the management principles and recommendations (e.g. 40% critical vegetation cover) make sense for the study sites? If not, why not? What key aspects would need to be changed?
  • Q3 In sites where vegetation was successfully restored, how severely was the vegetation degraded (% cover) when restoration started? How many animals per hectare were grazed prior to degradation on these sites?

For details of the workshops in each study site see

»Várzea, Portugal: Stakeholder workshop to evaluate SLM guidelines
»Albatera & Ayora, Spain: Stakeholder workshop to evaluate SLM guidelines
»Castelsaraceno, Italy: Stakeholder workshop to evaluate SLM guidelines
»Messara, Greece: Stakeholder workshop to evaluate SLM guidelines and scenario analysis
»Randi Forest, Cyprus: Stakeholder workshop to evaluate SLM guidelines and scenario analysis

Note: For full references to papers quoted in this article see

» References

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