The many futures of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa

A 2016 article by Andy Catley, Jeremy Lind and Ian Scoones – The futures of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa: pathways of growth and change – outlines the different pathways of change emerging in the Horn of Africa. It is published in the Revue scientifique et technique (International Office of Epizootics) and is part of a special issue edited by Jacob Zinsstag and colleagues. The whole issue is well worth a read.

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Beef, borders and Brexit: why livestock movement is essential

Flexible movement is essential for most livestock systems. Whether it’s the transhumance of pastoral herds and flocks responding to seasonally variable grass production or movement along market chains from production zones to markets, mobility is crucial, but under threat. Mobility reduces uncertainty, allowing for opportunistic responses to changing conditions, whether drought, price shifts or new markets. When borders are put in the way, conflicts can arise, or re-emerge.

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Changing pastoral landscapes in Europe

Changes in climate patterns, the growing impact of trade and agriculture policies, the increasing presence of predators in many mountainous areas (wolves, bears and lynx) and dwindling market opportunities due to change in European consumption patterns, are all affecting pastoralism today in Europe. These themes – and others – will be central to our explorations of pastoralism, uncertainty and resilience in the PASTRES case study in Sardinia, Italy.

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Introducing PASTRES: Pastoralism, Uncertainty, Resilience

A pastoralist guiding a herd of sheep in a dusty landscape, with the sun setting behind hills in the background

by Ian Scoones and Michele Nori

Welcome to the new PASTRES blog! Its launch marks the beginning of a new European Research Council funded project, Pastoralism, Uncertainty and Resilience: Global Lessons from the Margins (PASTRES) led by Ian Scoones at IDS, Sussex and Michele Nori at EUI, Florence.

We are asking: What lessons can we learn for global challenges from pastoral systems responding to uncertainty?  Together with local partners and students, we will be working in pastoral areas across three continents: China (Qinghai plateau), Italy (Sardinia) and Kenya (Isiolo), where we will be exploring responses to uncertainty across three areas: environment/resources, markets/commodities and institutions/governance.

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PASTRES (Pastoralism, Uncertainty and Resilience: Global Lessons from the Margins) is a new research project, starting in 2018, which aims to learn from the ways that pastoralists respond to uncertainty, through cases in Kenya, China and Italy. We will aim to apply such ‘lessons from the margins’ to global challenges.

This blog will be a home for comments and news by the researchers on the PASTRES project. To find out more about the research, visit the project website.