Heritage Breeds of Livestock in Protected Forest Landscapes: an approach to conserving natural and agricultural diversity
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In landscapes with a long history of traditional agricultural activity, some protected areas are using heritage breeds of livestock to conserve disturbance-dependent habitats and combat the loss of natural and agricultural biodiversity associated with the widespread decline in traditional agriculture. This dissertation examines this phenomenon on a broad scale through a global review, as well as on a regional scale through a case study at Koli National Park in eastern Finland. A review of protected areas around the world was conducted to understand the ways in which protected areas and heritage breeds contribute to each other’s conservation. Benefits were found in terms of the contribution of heritage breeds to the management objectives of protected areas (such as controlling invasive vegetation, maintaining disturbance-dependent habitats, enhancing biodiversity, reducing soil erosion, creating habitat for wildlife, serving as tourism attractions and fostering good relationships with local residents via incentive programs). Reciprocally, protected areas contributed to the conservation of heritage breeds by increasing awareness of the breeds, supporting incentive programs that encourage local farmers to raise heritage breeds, and creating opportunities for niche-marketing.