Sustainable Small Ruminant Farming

Large uninhabited areas on Samothraki show signs of overgrazing, mainly by feral and unmanaged domestic goats and sheep. Reducing that pressure is an integral aspect of managing Samothraki as a Biosphere Reserve. The history of livestock keeping on the island, and the ongoing economic interests that relate to that, do however require a profound mentality change considering the role of livestock for the community. Conducting scientific monitoring (i.e. line transects to estimate goat and sheep abundance) can help to disentangle rumors from facts, and establish a causal link between soil erosion and livestock numbers. Αn approach that involves key stakeholders and citizens in the monitoring process is much more effective in changing long-lasting attitudes within the community.

Further Reading

Dominik Noll et al. (2017) Achieving Sustainable Small Ruminant Farming on Samothraki- see poster above – (download poster )

Nina Fuchs (2015) Effects of CAP subsidies on the livestock system of Samothraki – (download thesis)

Fetzel et al.(2018). “Reaching a Socio-Ecological Tipping point: Overgrazing on the Greek Island of Samothraki and the Role of European Agricultural Policies” Land Use Policy 76 (July):21-28  (download)

Fischer-Kowalski, M.,Petridis,P. (eds).2019. Fifth Summer School on “Aquatic and Social Ecology” on Samothraki, Greece. Social Ecology Working Paper 178. Vienna (download)

Happy Goats App

The goal of the project is to develop a flexible decision support web app that helps farmers understand correlations between their actions and changes in the environment as well as consequences on their present and future income. With this app, small ruminant farmers will be able to plan for their annual income in an optimal way taking into account economic and ecological factors. In the case of Samothraki, this app will help to understand and fight current threats to the environment as well as improving the local farmers’ economic status.

For further Information visit the Happy Goats Website