Nomadic Pastoralism: Importance and Distribution

  1. Livestock is the fastest growing agricultural sector, and in some countries accounts for 80% of GDP.[1]
  2. Grasslands – the basis for livestock production – cover ~70% of the global agricultural area.[2]
  3. More of the land surface of the earth is used for grazing than for any other purposes.[3]
  4. Pastoralism produces 10% of the world’s meat, and supports some 200 million pastoral households who raise nearly 1 billion head of camel, cattle and smaller livestock.[4]
  5. >1 billion people depend on livestock, and 70% of the 880 million rural poor living on less than USD 1 per day are at least partially dependent on livestock.[5]

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Nomadic Pastoralism: A (Tentative) Definition

In the early days, research was all about establishing typologies. So also in the study of nomadic pastoralism, which was concerned with establishing typologies of “pure pastoralists or nomads” where the units of analysis were “ideal types”[1]. Continue reading “Nomadic Pastoralism: A (Tentative) Definition”

Tibetan lives: Nomads in the Aru Basin

So I just bought a scanner to scan the many pictures I have from my stay in Tibet in 2000 and 2001. While I spent most of my time in the capital, Lhasa, I have yet to get to those pictures. Consequently, I have selected a few pictures showing  some aspects of the daily life of the nomads in the Aru Basin. Continue reading “Tibetan lives: Nomads in the Aru Basin”

Why Herd Size Matters – Mitigating the Effects of Livestock Crashes

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Just got a paper published in PLOS ONE. Basically, it provides the rationale for why it pays off for pastoralists to keep large herds of livestock. Continue reading “Why Herd Size Matters – Mitigating the Effects of Livestock Crashes”

Climate Change, Risk Management and the End of Nomadic Pastoralism

Tibet

While not a particularly good quality map, it at least show the area my latest publication pertains to (Aru Basin). It is published in the journal International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology.

The topic of the paper is mobility, a classic pastoral stagey for dealing with environmental variation. Mobility is used to manage resource variability, for example, during droughts where pastoralist have moved from affected areas to unaffected (or less affected) areas. Continue reading “Climate Change, Risk Management and the End of Nomadic Pastoralism”

Reindeer herders’ objectives may differ from official assumptions

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A number of explanations have been raised in the literature as to why pastoralists keep large herds of animals: From the “East African cattle complex”, where the prestigious aspect of having large herds was given weight, to nomadic pastoralists seeking reliable food intake and valuing long-term household survival.  Importantly, however, large herds have been argued and shown to buffer environmental risks, like in the reindeer husbandry where herders with comparable larger herds one year also had comparable larger herds the next. Continue reading “Reindeer herders’ objectives may differ from official assumptions”

London trip: Book Launch

We also had an interesting meeting with Carol Kerven and Roy Behnke from the Odessa Centre, a research institute focusing on pastoralism, rangeland ecology and livestock development in semi-arid areas. After the meeting they were kind enough to invite us to a book launch for the book Pastoralism and Development in Africa: Dynamic Change at the Margins, edited by Andy Catley, Jeremy Lind and Ian Scoones. I have never been to a book launch before so it was a really interesting experience with presentations of the book by some of the contributors as well as questions from the audience.

While I haven’t as of yet read the book, the premise seems to be interesting: Continue reading “London trip: Book Launch”

My latest publication

A bit earlier this year I got a paper published in Evolution and Human Behavior. In general, the paper investigates how pastoral slaughter strategies are shaped in the reindeer husbandry in Norway.

From a governmental point of view, the reindeer husbandry is characterised by overstocking of reindeer (especially in the northern parts of the country). As a consequence, the Norwegian government has initiated a subsidy policy aiming to stimulate households to slaughter as many reindeer as possible so as to reduce the number of reindeer and thereby create a sustainable reindeer husbandry. Nevertheless, in spite of this subsidy policy, the number of reindeer has increased rather than decreased. This indicates that reindeer herders do not make slaughter related decisions from a purely economic point of view.

Continue reading “My latest publication”