The PASTRES country lead for China, Gongbuzeren, has a fascinating new article out in Ecology and Society (open access), together with Lynn Huntsinger and Wenjun Li. It is based on extended fieldwork on the Tibetan plateau and explores how pastoral communities are responding to rapid economic and policy change.
By Jeremy Lind
The past ten years have seen the spread of large-scale investments in infrastructure, resources and land across pastoral areas of eastern Africa. In the past, these areas were insignificant to states in the region and large capital from beyond – at least compared to the region’s agrarian highlands and Indian Ocean coast. Yet, the recent rush to construct pipelines, roads, airports, wind farms, and plantations – to give a few examples – signals a new spatial politics that binds the pastoral margins ever closer to state power and global capital.
Michele Nori and Linda Pappagallo
Pastoral development is witnessing a revival in recent years, and UN and other international agencies have not avoided the challenge of properly relocating pastoralism in their development agendas.
For example, the Rome based agencies, IFAD (the International Fund for Agricultural Development) and the FAO (the UN Food and Agriculture Organization) have a long history of engagement in pastoral development, and are revising their approach in pastoral areas. Two new documents have recently been released that show this commitment: the Joint Evaluation Synthesis of FAO’s and IFAD’s Engagement in Pastoral Development and the IFAD toolkit, Engaging with pastoralists – a holistic development approach.
Dr Michele Nori helps lead the PASTRES project from a base at the European University Institute in Florence. With experience of research and development work in many pastoral areas, he reflects in this new video on his work in Somalia.
A new PASTRES video has just been released featuring Dr Antonello Franco, PASTRES lead for Sardinia from the Institute of Animal Production Systems in Mediterranean Environments in Sassari, Italy. It reflects on the importance of the project for the island of Sardinia.
Dr Gongburezen is the lead researcher for PASTRES in China. Based at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu and working closely with Wenjun Li at Peking University, he will be coordinating PASTRES work in the pastoral areas of Qinghai and Sichuan.
In this short video, part of a forthcoming series to be featured on the PASTRES blog, Dr Hussein Abdullahi Mahmoud introduces the PASTRES work in northern Kenya by responding to two questions.
There’s a vegan craze in full swing in Brighton in the UK – and it seems more broadly. There was a vegan festival near my house the other weekend, and vegan graffiti (in washable chalk, I hasten to add) appears frequently in our local park. My daughter became a vegan for a period a year or so ago after a school trip to a local farm. I have nothing against veganism, and I see its potential health, welfare and environmental benefits, certainly for consumers in northern Europe. But what would a mass shift from livestock products mean for poor pastoralists living in marginal areas?
Pastoral territories constitute about two thirds of total land area in the Maghreb, a region in North Africa that includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya and (parts of) Mauritania. Small stock rearing remains a pervasive strategy for most rural communities in the region. Although the land for pastoral use has been shrinking (see graph below), pastoralism continues to be an important source of livelihood in the region. The share of livestock in agricultural GDP ranges from 26 percent in Morocco to 70 percent in Mauritania. The biggest pastoral countries in terms of rangelands areas are Morocco and Algeria, with approximately 40% of their territory classified as steppe. Egypt, Libya and Mauritania are mostly desert countries where rangelands represent a very tiny percentage of the national territory.
As a previous blog showed, pastoralism across the Mediterranean regions of Europe has undergone immense changes in recent decades. Rural out-migration, particularly of young people, is changing the labour profiles of shepherds and herders across Italy, France and Spain. Migrant workers are filling the gap, coming from Albania, Romania, Macedonia and other countries across the Balkans in particular, but also from the Maghreb, and from countries such as Morocco.