Ranching Today

Extensive mountain ranching is the type of stockbreeding practiced in the mountains of Alava and specifically the mountains of Izki. It is a type of ranching adapted to harsh mountain conditions. Because of the predominantly sandy substratum, the agriculture present in Izki has very low yields and the only notable resource is the potential fodder of the high meadows and the pasture areas in the clearings of the predominantly forest area.

The purpose of this ranching is the breeding of calves and colts, and to a lesser extent the breeding and fattening of lambs.


Pastoral communities, a Legacy of the Mountains os Alava

The geographic and climate conditions of the mountains of Alava favoured the maintenance of organizational structures of yesteryear based on mountain communities, instead of the agricultural culture where land ownership takes precedence.

These organizational structures have been called Communities, Parzonerías or Divisas, and have endured in Izki until well into the 19th century. The most elemental structure of the land organization was the house or foguera. A member from each foguera would go to the village council, which made the pertinent decisions on the exploitation of its lands. Each village, whose authority was made up by a representation from its council, could make decisions on the villages of the entire valley in the Town Hall meetings, an institutional organization of a higher scope. Meanwhile, each Town Hall could name a mountain Mayor to represent them at the mountain Committee, a higher level institutional which managed the lands of a district.

This way, by means of representatives and direct democratic decisions, from the simplest institutions like the foguera, it ascended step by step, taking decisions on more extensive terrains.