The Family meeting spring 2012 took place in Schmochtitz near Bautzen in Oberlausitz, Saxony, from May 17 to 20, 2012. The theme of the meeting was:
The Conflict between Agriculture and Protection of Nature exemplified by the most recent migration of Wolves into the Area of Lausitz.
Maintaining biological diversity and protecting nature are more and more important themes in Middle and Eastern Europe. In the cause of increased efforts in these fields, the populations of wolves have increased as well. Young wolves move in in the search for mating partners, often over long trails. Distances of 500 km are not unusual. Thus, wolves came back into Oberlausitz twelve years ago, to make it their new habitat. This has impacts on farmers, hunters, foresters and providers of tourism in the region.
In our meeting, we talked to representatives of those affected, to learn their views on problems and chances resulting from the in-migration of wolves. And, of course, we also acquainted ourselves intensively with our new neighbour, the wolf: Which packs of wolves exist in the region, where do they come from, where do they move to, what are they feeding on, how do the hunt, and how do they react towards humans and their livestock.
Furthermore, we took the case of wolf migration to have a look at the theme „Nature versus Agriculture“, which more and more moves into focus worldwide. How much „wild habitat“ can agriculture tolerate?, are there forms of landuse, which are more compatible with protection of nature?, which sensible arrangement could ease potential conflicts between agriculture and protection of nature? These are some of the questions we raised and discussed, also in view of our own experiences with the theme in development co-operation.
- Thursday: Arrival, supper, introductory presentations, market with short presentations
- Friday: Contact office wolf region of Lausitz, excursion on wolf tracks
- Saturday: Visiting Bio-Farmers, adventure hiking on the nature trail near Guttau
- Sunday: Presentations by AGRECOL in-service students, annual meeting of AGRECOL members, visit to Bautzen and departure after lunch.
Additional information on the issues may be obtained from some interesting articles (in german) from „Schafzucht“, the journal for sheep and goat farmers.
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