Sustainable management model for the preservation of valuable open mountain areas: the Open2preserve project Conference Paper uri icon


  • In south-western Europe, the abandonment of traditional practices in mountains is causing a homogenization of the landscape and an increased risk of extreme wildfires, endangering ecosystems of high ecological value. The Interreg Sudoe Open2preserve project (2018-2021) aimed to develop a sustainable management model based on the principles of the pyric herbivory (combination of prescribed fires and targeted grazing) to preserve a mosaic of open landscapes in abandoned and high fire-prone areas. Thirteen partners from Spain, France and Portugal established eight pilot experiments in protected areas of contrasting environments in the SUDOE region (Atlantic mountains, Pyrenees, and Mediterranean areas). In these pilot experiments, we implemented a common management and monitoring design based on an initial removal of biomass and a multi-year targeted grazing with autochthonous horses and sheep. We monitored the intensity and severity of the burnings, the livestock welfare, the vegetation dynamics, and the soil function for two years, and tested drone and GPS technological tools. This multidisciplinary and international project gathered the main bases to implement pyric herbivory practices on mountain grasslands valuing prescribed burnings and targeted grazing, which promote the preservation of biodiversity and resilient ecosystems, while ensuring the environmental, social and economic sustainability of these practices.
  • Open2preserve Project (SOE2/P5/E0804) was funded by the Interreg Sudoe Programme, the European Regional Development Fund of the European-Union. The authors are grateful to the rest of the partners and participants of the project.

publication date

  • June 1, 2022