New research paper about cooperation in groups of Saami reindeer herders

The Tangled Woof of Fact

People rely on one another in fundamental ways, but cooperation in groups can be fragile. Every day, we face tensions between acting in a socially responsible manner and following our own self-interest. These situations are called social dilemmas and they come in varying shades of subtlety, from littering and eBay to overpopulation and climate change. Overcoming these dilemmas can make all the difference, especially for marginalised groups such as pastoralists – people who make their living from herding animals.

Pastoralists use about a quarter of the world’s land for grazing their herds. Nowadays, all over the world, governments are privatising many of their pastures, and so herders must work together in increasingly fragmented places.

We wanted to learn how groups of Saami reindeer herders living in Norway’s Arctic Circle worked together. Our study, just published in the journal Human Ecology, found that cooperation pivoted around the ‘siida’: a…

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Tibetan lives: Hunting

I’ve just got a paper accepted in Land Use Policy about nomadic pastoralists in Tibet and hunting. As we all know, space is limited in scientific journals, so here is additional text as well as pictures. Continue reading “Tibetan lives: Hunting”

What’s killing the reindeer?

Predatory species compete with humans for the use of resources such as livestock and an important tool for managing possible conflicts is damage compensation schemes distributing the costs between those who benefit from conservation and those who suffer the costs of damage.

Continue reading “What’s killing the reindeer?”

Are Nomadic Pastoralists Non-Rational?

Herskovits[1] showed that cattle were a dominant element among East African pastoralists’ culture and life. Cattle were important in many ways, e.g. as a symbol of wealth, dowry, and in ceremonies. Continue reading “Are Nomadic Pastoralists Non-Rational?”

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”