GNF - Transhumanz

Transhumanz – Traditional Pastoralism


Transhumanz is the name for the traditional form of pastoralism in Spain organised around the migration of livestock. In early summer, when large parts of Central Spain and the south of the country suffer from limited water supply, Transhumanz begins. Livestock are driven over hundreds of kilometres into mountainous, more humid regions in the north of Spain.


This custom continued until the beginning of the 20th century, involving more that 4 million sheep, goats and cattle. When Spain became an EU member and adopted the EU agricultural policy, traditional pastoralism had almost no chances of survival.

Pastoralism is of great importance for the protection of eco-systems. The Dehesas, thin holm oak forests in the south of Spain, are protected against overgrazing, and threatened birds such as Great Bustard find enough food for their brood. The cañadas, the drove roads of this ecologically friendly form of animal husbandry, constitute a network of over 120 000 km road-length. Most importantly, these green corridors connect nature-zones and provide the basis for cultural interaction.

Fundación Global Nature España became a cattle farmer itself and for about four years a flock of 2,000 merino sheep migrated. During this time two of the most important cañadas were observed and recorded. The project was extremely successful. In autumn, the flocks were driven across Madrid and about 50,000 people welcomed them with enthusiasm. The Finca Talavan, which was bought by the Fundación, is the first recognised ecological farm in Extremadura. 


Connecting element to Living Lakes is the member, Laguna La Nava, a renaturalised lake of the steppe in the Province of Palencia. The famous Cañada Leonesa runs past La Nava.

 Cows of the species Blanca Cacarena
 Finca Talaván


Fundación Global Nature España, Madrid Office

Eduardo de Miguel

c/ Capitán Haya, 23, esc 2, 9°

28020 Madrid, Spain

Phone: + 34 - 91 - 556 93 90

Fax : + 34 - 91 - 556 98 95


 Logo Fundación Global Nature