The paper examines extensive livestock grazing as a tool for rural fire management, particularly in the Portuguese southern region known as Serra Algarvia. The topics discussed are the result of an analysis of the available literature. In order to understand the role that pastoralism plays in forest fire protection, the paper focuses on the potential for biomass control by allowing small ruminants to graze on land and on the economic benefits derived from forest management driven by introducing flocks of sheep and goats to control vegetation growth. Promoting the implementation of livestock grazing in rural areas to help control overgrowth can be achieved by converting abandoned farmlands into pastures or by using the animals to maintain forest stands, that is, by promoting silvopasture. After reviewing case studies carried out in Portugal and other Mediterranean countries related to this subject, two models for livestock management and fire prevention are proposed. These models were designed for implementation in the Serra Algarvia and stress the importance of an autochthonous goat breed called Cabra Algarvia (the Algarve goat) as a fundamental resource for reducing fire risk.
Keywords: Pastoral systems, biomass control, fire, Serra Algarvia, goats
Author: José Filipe dos Santos Costa Rocheta