Adapting Innovation in Grassland Management to Farmers' Needs to Face Social and Climatic Changes


The FAO-CIHEAM subnetwork on Mountain Pastures aims to share scientific and technical knowledge on mountain pastures and livestock farming, for which it organizes biennial meetings in singular European mountain areas.
The 20th Meeting of the subnetwork will be held at Ballstad (68.4 0N, 13.3 0E). It is a small fishing village in the Lofoten Islands, Nordland county, Norway. The village is located about 11 km east of Leknes airport, 27 km from Stamsund where Hurtigruten arrives and about 170 km from Bodø international airport, of which 94 km by boat.

Background and objective

The challenges and opportunities facing mountainous regions worldwide are plentiful, and involve aspects of sustainable food production, food safety, cultural and biological diversity, spatial management, encroachment and fragmentation, wilderness policies, indigenous culture and climate change, to mention some. The need to understand how these regions are subject to rapid and cascading effects from a number of social, economic and environmental drivers of change, is therefore critical.

The 20th Meeting of FAO-CIHEAM subnetwork on Mountain Pastures in Ballstad will discuss innovation in mountain grasslands as an important way forward towards sustainable grassland and rangeland science and management. A main focus will be on the opportunities and challenges connected to sustainable pastoralism and livestock farming, which today are influenced by unprecedented rates of climate and environmental change, institutional restructuring, use-protection conflicts, and human activities. To meet these challenges and transform threats into opportunities, the meeting will address the following issues:

  • technical innovation and transfer of tools/new technologies to farmers;
  • innovative grassland management and monitoring;
  • product added value and footprints of productions processes;
  • mountain-pastoral cultural landscapes as an opportunity to develop agriculture-tourism interrelations;
  • farmers’ social role;
  • grass-fed foods to fulfill societal demands for quality, environmental-friendly production and consumers’ security;
  • climate changes and pastoral sustainability.

Optimizing these aspects requires a transdisciplinary approach, which combines research and development on ecology, animal, social and environmental issues. Exchanging information on these aspects is the overall objective of this meeting.


28 February 2018 – Preliminary registration and take-home message (online registration system)

30 April 2018 – Extended abstract (template on the web site)

15 June 2018 – Acceptance of the extended abstract and early bird registration (payment to benefit from the reduced rate)

15 July 2018 – Full rate registration


Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research - NIBIO, Nordland Research Institute and Norwegian Agricultural Advice Lofoten, will organize the meeting.

Registration fees / scholarships / accommodation

Before 1 June 2018 registration fees will be 3500,- NOK for senior experts and 2500,- NOK for young rewarded researchers (below 35 years), after which fees will be 4500,- NOK.
Fees include attendance to the conference, coffee breaks, lunches, social evening, field trip and all the transfers. Accommodation and travel expenses are additional. The mode of payment will be indicated in the Second Announcement. 

The organisers will award a limited number of scholarships to partly cover registration fees, accommodation and travel expenses for young participants with contributions accepted by the Scientific Committee. Candidatures have to be submitted through the online registration system.  

Participants will be accommodated at their own expense in a partner typical Norwegian hut. However, they will have either the possibility to book directly an accommodation using registration procedure or book other hotels in the area. Of course, we encourage booking the suggested accommodations to create a convivial environment and improve human relations.  

The meeting will be held at Kraemmervika Rorbuer

It will last three and a half days, providing a forum for scientific and technical exchanges and a one-day field trip.  



Lofoten Island
From Sunday September 9th 2018 at 14:30
To Wednesday September 12th 2018 at 14:00
Friday June 1st 2018 at 23:00
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Tentative program

The scientific sessions will concist of keynotes presented by guest speakers and free contributions as oral presentations, speed presentation (2' pitch-elevator) or posters.

The working language of the meeting will be English.


  • Sunday 9th September

  • Afternoon

    • Meeting at Bodø international airport or Bodø harbor.
      Boarding Hurtigruten boat trip Bodø (dep. 15:00) - Stamsund (Lofoten arr. 19:00) Early dinner on board
    • Meeting registration
    • Opening ceremony

  • 17.30

    Early welcome dinner on board

  • Evening

    • Accommondation at Ballstad

  • Monday 10th September

    • Scientific works: Introductory + oral presentations (2-3 sessions)

  • Tuesday 11th September

  • 08.30 - 18.30

    • Field trip to sheep farmers and cultural sites

  • Evening

    • Social Evening at Lofoten Museum

  • Wednesday 12th September

  • Morning

    • Scientific works: Introductory + oral presentations (1-2 sessions)

  • Afternoon

    Summarizing and Closing session

Organizing Committee

 Dr. Vibeke Lind and Dr. Grete M. Jørgensen (NIBIO), Dr. Ingrid Bay-Larsen, Dr. Camilla Røsvoll and Dr. Aase Kristine Lundberg (Nordland Research Institute), Mr. Gustav Karlsen (NLR)


Scientific Committee

Alain Peeters, RHEA, Belgium (Coordinator FAO-CIHEAM Network on Pasture and Forage Crops)

Giampiero Lombardi, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy (Coordinator FAO-CIHEAM Sub-Network on Mountain Pastures)

Isabel Casasús, CITA-Aragón, Spain

Margalida Joy, CITA-Aragón, Spain

Daniel Villalba, Universitat de Lleida, Spain

Eric Mosimann, Parc Jura Vaudois, Switzerland

Giovanni Peratoner, Laimburg Research Centre, Italy

Manuel K. Schneider, Agroscope Zurich, Switzerland

Michele Lonati, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy

Bruno Martin, INRA Clermont-Ferrand, France

Erich M. Pötsch, Agricultural Research and Education Centre Raumberg-Gumpenstein, Austria

Vibeke Lind, NIBIO Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Norway

Grete Meisfjord Jørgensen, NIBIO Norwegian Instiute of Bioeconomy Research, Norway

Tzach Glasser, Ramat Hanadiv Nature Park, Israel




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Scientific topics

Submission of scientific contributions

In line with other international congresses and to encourage the presentation of original results, authors will submit a one page extended abstract using online procedure. The acceptance of an extended abstract implies that it will actually be presented at the meeting by one of the co-authors. No full-papers will be requested and meeting proceedings will not be published. However, we have find an agreement with the Journal of Mountain Science ( )for the publication of some selected papers, after the meeting, in an issue edited by meeting organizers (information about the procedure will be supplied in next announcements or on the website).

Submission procedure

While filling the online preliminary registration form participants will be requested to propose a title of their contribution and a take-home message for conveners, i.e. a very short description (15-20 words) of what they would like to communicate to the other participants.

The extended abstracts will be submitted at a second stage uploading a MSWord file prepared using the template that will be available through the online system. Authors will have to indicate their preference for one of the topics of the meeting and for one of the three presentation forms: oral presentation, 2-3’ speed presentation, poster.

The ‘take-home message’ and extended abstract either have to be written in English.

All the extended abstracts will be reviewed by the International Scientific Committee and assigned to one of the sessions. ISC will also define the final meeting program and attribute each abstract an oral presentation, speed presentation or a poster.

Technical innovation in grazing, pastoralism and mountain farming

Technical development in farming is increasing and use of e.g. virtual fencing, drones for more precision farming, proximity sensors, and remote sensing is in demand. Monitoring and following animals in mountainous pastures may help improving pasture management with benefits for grassland ecosystems, but also may allow the farmers to face practical problems (e.g. finding carcasses at an early stage in areas with predators). A session on this theme will focus on different devices and technologic tools to be used in modern mountain farming systems and improve the grassland management.


Management and added value of the exploitation of less favored mountain areas

Mountain pastures are often related to high biodiversity causing pasture forage quality of less value compared to cultivated pastures. However, the biodiversity may give unique qualities of the products produced from the grazing animals. At the same time, the biodiversity may allow the pastures to be utilized efficiently by using mixed herds for grazing. Moreover, biodiversity may support several other ecosystem services beyond food productions, starting from landscapes and cultural services, to which an adequate touristic offer may confer added values. In a second session, the topic will concentrate on the management and benefits related to utilization of less favored mountain area, including the possibility to develop an agriculture-tourism integrated offer.


Pastoralism and its contribution to animal health and welfare, and food security

Livestock production, grazing and pastoralism have for centuries had significant effects on ecosystems in the Nordic countries and across the world. These effects range from cultural landscapes shaped by grazing animals contributing towards maintaining biodiversity, to irreversible changes on vegetation and soils. A focus on the potential and need for increased use of these areas suitable for grazing, together with sustainable innovations and managing pastoralism have to account for other aspects than volume maximization and efficiency. Such measures include increased focus on food security, adaptation and transformation to climate change and other environmental and societal changes such as shrub expansion and cultural diversity. Ecological alterations resulting from climate change are likely to push the geographic boundaries of infections that are climate sensitive further north, thereby increasing the risk of disease exposure among animals and humans. In a third session, benefits and risks of pastoral management on animal health and welfare, and possible effects on the security of animal productions will be considered.


Linking pastoral sustainability with land use policies and human activities

This theme will explore how sustainable human-environment interactions can be strengthened by better understanding complex cross-scale effects and activities. The effects of human activities, management and policies create increased potential for land use conflict, and also predator-pastoral conflicts. A fourth session will focus on a wide range of topics such as patterns and dynamics of adaptation and transformation in human-environment landscapes, the role of technical innovation and adaptation driving such change at different scales, the role of policies and policy makers, in order to understand how innovations can have the potential to move pastoralism into sustainable pathways and how policies could support/drive along such pathways.


Climate footprint/LCA versus ecosystem services

A fifth session will explore the sustainability of pastoralism and grass-fed meat and milk productions with an emphasis on climate footprint versus other EU sustainability goals (biodiversity, culture landscape, rural development etc.). Small scale pastoralism is expected to gain low score in terms of CO2, CH4 and other GHG emissions, while its critical role in mountainous and coastal semi-natural ecosystems is effectively reflected on policy in general. A holistic approach to pastoralism is needed to better balance the pros and cons of grass-fed productions versus other products.