Monday 5
Vulnerability and Resilience of Livestock Farming Systems Facing Global Changes
Jean F. Tourrand
› 11:05 - 18:00 (6h55)
› La Courvertoirade / Le Caylar
A social-ecological network approach of landscape management: Transhumant pastoralism in the Andean Mountains of North Patagonia, Argentina
Marcos Easdale  1, *@  , Martín Aguiar, Raúl Paz@
1 : Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria  (INTA)
Modesta Victoria 4450, Bariloche. Río Negro -  Argentine
* : Corresponding author

Many mountain regions are widely characterized by harsh environments, scarce infrastructure, low human density and extreme contrasts regarding these attributes between mountains and neighboring plateaus and plains. Many cultures have co-evolved in such contexts by developing their livelihoods moving around within a large spatial landscape (both family and herd), in order to cope with environmental variability such as seasonal and regional rainfall and snowfall, and natural heterogeneity (e.g. lowlands and highlands). We propose that analysis of regional connectivity is a crucial step in order to understand the strengths and vulnerabilities on human land use and related communities. In the Andean mountains of North Patagonia (Neuquén, Argentina) many families rely on transhumance for their well-being. Families and their herding system that moves between fragmented environments are embedded in a regional network of social, biophysical and productive connectivity. We analyzed the regional transhumant system from a network perspective, depicted by the connectivity promoted by the seasonal movements of herds and families (edges) among different ecosystems, defined as lowlands and highlands (nodes, n=793). The network topology explicitly described the hidden institution regarding landscape management, and the biophysical connectivity promoted by the transhumant system as a whole. We identified 238 transhumance networks, and the highest frequencies corresponded to small network structures (i.e. 53% dyads, 23% triads) suggesting that landscape management is highly decentralized. Most transhumant networks (92%) promoted connections of at least two different regional ecosystem units, and there was a positive relationship between the diversity of ecological connections and network complexity. With regards to biophysical connectivity, we identified 8 regional ecosystem units with structural importance for the whole network, highlighting zones where conservation and management should be oriented in the face of future environmental and social change. Based on inferences from these analyses, we emphasize that policy design, intervention, and the development of institutions involved with governance systems in mountain-plain social-ecological regions, requires to acknowledge the cross-scale spatial and temporal interconnectedness, in order to avoid problems of scale mismanagement. From a scientific perspective, the results are encouraging as a step towards the integration of social-ecological patterns and processes. Linked social and ecological studies should advance, from the design of research, in a more tied relationship between geographic (i.e. biophysical patterns) and network dimensions (i.e. social processes).

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