Case Study

Managing biodiverse mountains


Managing biodiverse mountains


1. Introduction

Rania Dimou is a young lady (37 years old) trying to establish an organic sheep farm. She has worked on the farm for the last 20 years. All her family is dealing with transhumance livestock.

2. Basic information

Main promoter

Rania Dimou

Start of the practice



Mikri Gotista, Greece

Organisations involved
  • Farmer(s)/ Dairymaid(s)/ Herder(s)
Total surface of land farmed in ha
  • 280 ha
Ownership of the land used for transhumance farming
  • Own land
  • Rented public land
Basic produce

Sheep are raised principally for their milk, meat, and fibre (wool).

EL543 Ioannina
  • Main farm


  • Summer pastures


3. Situation before startup/ change/ continuation

The farm was created by Rania Dimou’s husband’s grandfather with a small number of animals and was joined with Rania Dimou’s mother-in-laws farm. The livestock was increased by Rania Dimou’s father-in-law and her husband as new breeders. They used to have rare breeds on their farm, but as these rare breeds did not have high milk production, they changed their flock to other more productive breeds. During the winter, animals are indoor in the stable. The farm has a milking parlour. The manure is used in the cereal fields. Rania Dimou is a high school graduate and has participated in seminars for young livestock breeders. She is involved in the local self-government.

4. Transhumance farming business description

Landscape type

Corine-Land-cover categorization and codes:

  • Natural grasslands (321)
  • Sparsely vegetated areas (333)
  • Moors and heathlands (322)
Animal type/ breed

The farm has a mixed flock of 500 sheep (Chios, karamaniko-Katsika, and Lacoune breeds). The farm is an organic farm.

Movement patterns

The movement is vertical on foot and starts from Mikri Gogista village at 692 m. After about 6 hours, the flock arrives at the summer grasslands at the Peristeri area in Lakmos mountain at 1800 m.

Kind of cooperation

The milk production is sold to the milk industry (Dodoni)

Threats & challenges

Rania Dimou believes that the main problem for her farm is the road network. The Forest Service, in accordance with the legislation, does not allow asphalt paving to be done.

5. Decisions taken


For Rania Dimou the economic gain is the main reason to continue farming.

Decision for the kind of animal/ specific breed

The farm has still some sheep of rare breeds. However, Rania Dimou is considering switching the flock entirely to a more productive breed because of the rare breeds’ low milk production.

Decision for the production system

Rania Dimou’s production system is organic because she has better economic profit from this type of production. She sells the milk at a higher price compared to other farms. 

Diversification of income

The farm offers the main income for the family. 

Multifunctional aspects

Rania Dimou grazes her livestock to keep the sustainability of transhumant animal farming because she understands how it benefits the landscape’s biodiversity. She and her family try to minimise the environmental impact of their actions. They try to apply a cyclical economy to the farm. However, the fact that their work is not acknowledged and that people are unaware of how much they contribute to biodiversity worries Rania Dimou. She feels that the lack of highland grazing leads to reduced wildlife habitats, increased fires, and disturbs the ecosystem’s equilibrium.

6. Training/ skills to establish the business

No official networking between breeders exists, so breeders try to create experience sharing groups on their own. Additionally, Rania Dimou said that the cheese factory located in Baltouma village offers only one possibility for training. This factory was built the last year within the framework of the Medina program.

7. Next steps to move on

Rania Dimou would like to be involved in a rearing program about rare breed. Moreover, she wants to start a female enterprise based on a local cheese product named “Galotiri”.

8. Quote and recommendation of the promoter

According to the opinion of Rania Dimou, the transhumant farming system helps maintaining the of biodiversity in highlands.

She advises someone dealing with transhumance to be patient, as it is a challenging profession.