- Transhumance in the Alps
The traditional economy of the
Alpsthroughout history has been based upon rearing cattle involving seasonal migration between valley and high pastures (German " _de. Almwirtschaft, Alpwirtschaft" from the term for "seasonal mountain pasture", " _de. Alm, Alp").
That practice has shaped a lot of landscape in the Alps, as without it, most areas below 2000 m would be forests. While tourism and industry contribute today much to Alpine economy, seasonal migration to high pastures is still practiced in
Bavaria, Austria, Italyand Switzerland, except in their most frequented tourist centers. In some places, cattle are taken care of by local farmer families who move to higher places. In others, this job is for herdsmen who are employees of the cooperative owning the pastures.
Transhumance contributes a lot to traditional Alpine culture, such as
Yodel, Alphornor Schwingen.
Some people spent the winters isolated in the high pastures.In
Johanna Spyri's novel " Heidi", the "Alm-Öhi" ("high-pasture grandfather") is such a person, despising and despised by the villagers.
German "Alm" "seasonal mountain pasture" is a reduced form of "Alben", the original dative singular of "Albe". In
Alemannic German, "Alp" remains current. The word is originally identical to the name of the "Alps" itself, probably a pre-Roman (and possibly pre-Indo-European) term for "mountain".
There is evidence of transhumance economy in the Alps dating to the 5th millennium BC (
Neolithic Europe).Fact|date=September 2007 [http://www.anisa.at/ AINSA] research found evidence for transhumance in the Northern Limestone Alpsdating to the Late Bronze Age Halstatt culture(17th to 10th centuries BC), with pastures above the treeline at 1500 to 2100 m.
Austriahad over 12,000 sites where 70,000 farmers take care of about 500,000 cattle. Alpine pastures amount to a quarter of the farmland. Bavariahad 1,384 sites hosting 48,000 cattle, about half of them in Upper Bavariaand the other half in the Allgäu.
In Switzerland, about 380,000 cattle including 130,000 milk cows as well as 200,000 sheep are in summer on high pastures. Milk from cows here is usually made into local
cheesespecialities, handmade using traditional methods and tools. Alpine pastures amount to 35 percent of Swiss farmland.
History of the Alps
Valleys of the Alps
pre-Christian Alpine traditions
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