Special thanks to Laurent Garde from the Centre d’Études et de Réalisations Pastorales Alpes Méditerranées (CERPAM)  and Patrice Roucolle from the Organisation Régionale de l’Élevage Alpes Méditerranée (OREAM)  for their contribution concerning the presentation of alpine breeding and pastoralism.
The alpine massif is characterized by a strong presence of livestock, all species combined.
The breeding of milk cows, mainly present in the North of the massif, involves next to 5,000 breeders. A great part of it is based on the prestigious labels of origin.
The stocks of milk goats, next to 1,000 in the massif, spread uniformly on the territory.
The sector of bovine meat production groups together 1,500 breeders for a number of mother cows superior to 45,000. The production is mainly aimed at the Italian market, despite some attempts at local promotion of the production.
Lastly the ovine meat breeding involves more than 3,000 farms, which gather 760,000 mother ewes mainly living in the South of the massif.
All these fields have a common point: they spread widely on the natural spaces (high mountain pastures, ranges at the foot of the mountains or hills), which strongly contributes to the feeding of the herds. These fields have above all a part to play in the production and have turned towards steps of quality (Protected Designation of Origin, Geographic Indication of Source, "Mountain" appellation) in order to differentiate and promote their production.
A whole economic network developed around these fields, so as to rationalize the costs and the restraints linked to the mountain zone (the costs and difficulties of the collection of milk and animals, lesser productivity, few possibilities to produce feed for the animals...)
- Form from the @lpes programme: Pastoral practices and vegetation: technical guide of pastoral practices for a sustainable management of pastures (in French)