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Jonzon, Ylva (2008) Why is the grass greener on the other side? Other thesis, SLU.

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Abstract

Summer pastures are underused while winter pastures are overused in Albania. Summer pastures are usually located a few kilometres from the village, while winter pastures are found very close to it. The grass growth in the villages is very low during the hot, dry summers, why farmers have traditionally moved their animals during this season. They have moved them to winter pastures in the mountains, where the temperature is lower. This habit is believed to have declined since democratization in the early 1990s. This paper presents a case study in North-Eastern Albania, where pasture use was studied. The aim of the study was to find out, in an economic framework, why pasture use is so uneven, if more intense use of summer pastures can help the overused winter pastures, which are degrading and how this would affect farmers' economy. The focus of this work is pastures, but some attention is also given to forest management and the agricultural system in general. Pobreg is a village of slightly more than 1000 inhabitants. A "Natural Recourse Development Program" (NRDP) is currently implemented, with the objective of improving the natural resources and decreasing poverty. Sida and the World Bank are co-financing the project. Field work was carried through in June and July 2008. A multi-perspective approach was undertaken. Information was gathered through interviews, focus group meetings, archival records, documentation and own observation. Information was gathered about pasture and forest management as well as the agricultural system. The main finding was that summer pasture use has declined since democratization in 1991, and that the main reason is that it is not feasible to use the rangelands far away from the village with the few heads of animals that farmers hold after the reform. Five cows (or a corresponding herd of other animals) are needed for the investments needed to use summer pastures to be profitable. Many farmers hold fewer animals than that, so cooperation among farmers is suggested as a way to making summer pasture use possible. This would likely improve the status of both winter and summer pastures, the latter because biodiversity decreases when pastures are not properly grazed of maintained. Also important, animals' growth and yields are believed to increase as they are brought to the mountains during summer. The main conclusion of the study is that summer pastures should be regarded an important resource and that they should be included in the on-going projects that aim to improve natural resources and decrease poverty. The interviews revealed that the NRDP was seen as very creditable, and they should hence be a trust-worthy third part in a potential cooperation.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Keywords: Albania, Natural resource use, summer pastures, overgrazing, household economy
Subject (faculty): Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences > Dept. of Economics
Divisions: SLU > Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences
Depositing User: Ylva Jonzon
Date Deposited: 29 Dec 2008
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2015 10:10
URI: http://ex-epsilon.slu.se/id/eprint/2977

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