The role of pastoralism in Germany

Evelyn Mathias, Günther Czerkus and Andreas Schenk.

League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development, 2022.

This detailed study of the role of pastoralism in Germany argues that a small number of mobile pastoralists make an outsized contribution to the landscape and environmental conservation in Germany. Around 1,000 full-time shepherds manage some 70% of the national flock, they include transhumant (mobile) shepherds who move long distances between winter and summer pastures, and location-bound herders, who graze their sheep and goats in a more or less wide radius around the homestead. In addition, mountain farming in the Alps involves cattle, plus some sheep, goats and horses moving between summer mountain pastures and winter quarters in the valleys. These herders provide various environmental services, including maintaining landscapes, protecting land from flooding, erosion and fire, and maintaining grassland that preserves the quality of groundwater. Official statistics do not include pastoralism as a management system, so its value and its contribution is largely unrecognized.