Cavagrande del Cassibile is an important nature reserve in South East Sicily (Italy). It was established to conserve and restore the natural Mediterranean vegetation in the area, as well as to protect and increase the local fauna. Inside the reserve there are farms which only abandoned transhumance in the 1990s. Our research investigates whether the conversion of the farms from transhumance to fixed site stock-breeding has changed the particular landscape under investigation. The study was carried out on two scales: at territory level, in order to analyse the present potential advantages that the reserve offers to the area; and at farm level, in order to analyse the transformation of the landscape and to highlight the importance of the farms in the modern multifunctional rural context. The results at territory level show that the Cavagrande del Cassibile reserve has great potential for environmental agro-tourism. The results of the farm level analysis were obtained by elaborating certain indices (changes in the landscape, continuation of farming, farm size). These allowed the changes in the countryside to be described in quantitative terms. In general, it emerges that there have been structural changes since the days of transhumance and that this has resulted in a landscape where the effects of human activities are more visible. Lastly our research also shows the sensitivity that the stockbreeders and farmers feel for their environment and their willingness to develop activities which will encourage local tourism and excursions.
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