Rural landscapes in Europe are changing due to the globalization of the food system, new policies like the CAP (Common Agriculture Policy) and evolving rural lifestyles, among others. These changes are remarkable in mountainous areas where, the sustainability of traditional pastoral systems, like extensive sheep grazing systems, and the associated benefit for the society and the environment are at serious risk due to these changing conditions. In order to better understanding the challenges faced by these systems and ensure their sustainability we require a transdisciplinary approaches that are capable to analyze the issue at hand from multiple perspectives simultaneously. Using as a case study the Aralar Natural Park (Basque Country), which is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), part of the European Natura 2000 network, and home of a millenary pastoral system, we develop and test the suitability of a multi-criteria evaluation frameworks that integrates socio-economic, institutional and ecological criteria to support the management of a High Nature Value farmland system. Base in a critical assessment of this experience, the article will show how this evaluation framework can help to assess alternative management options and diverse scenarios from multiple perspectives and under changing local and global conditions.
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