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Sustainable Pastoralism on the Tibetan Plateau

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Plenary Lecture: Sustainable Rangelands, Sustainable Pastoralism in Yak Herding Areas of the Tibetan Plateau & Central Asia.

Delivered by Marc Foggin at the "10th International Rangeland Congress: The Future Management of Grazing and Wild Lands in a High-Tech World." Session on Range and Forage of High Latitudes and Altitudes. Conference held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, on 16-22 July 2016.

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Sustainable Pastoralism on the Tibetan Plateau

  1. 1. Sustainable Rangelands Sustainable Pastoralism in Yak Herding Areas of the Tibetan Plateau & Central Asia International Rangeland Congress 2016 (Saskatoon, Canada) Plenary Session: High Altitude Rangelands of the World J Marc Foggin, PhD UNIVERSITY OF CENTRALASIA
  2. 2. Sustainable Rangelands Sustainable Pastoralism in the Greater Tibetan Plateau High Altitude Rangelands of the World… Sustainable Rangelands Sustainable Pastoralism in the Greater Tibetan Plateau
  3. 3. High Altitude Rangelands of Asia Tibetan Plateau | Himalayan Range | Mountains of Central Asia
  4. 4. Tibetan wild ass (kiang)
  5. 5. Bar headed geese
  6. 6. Grey wolf
  7. 7. Lammergeyer
  8. 8. Upland buzzard
  9. 9. Plateau pika
  10. 10. Tibetan fox
  11. 11. Snow leopard
  12. 12. Wild yak
  13. 13. Domestic yak
  14. 14. Tibetan Pastoralism
  15. 15. Sustainability Rangelands Pastoralism Tibet & CA
  16. 16. Distribution of yak (and yak hybrids)
  17. 17. Plan for today… At a broad level:  What is our goal?  How do we get there? — need for an enhanced model of Sustainability And more specifically:  Five key messages (lessons learned)
  18. 18. Sustainable Rangelands What is our main goal as scientists?  To develop ‘perfect models’ of economic behaviour, on the basis of well-studied rangeland ecosystems? (or)  To develop (possibly ‘sub-optimal’) integrative models, and recommend interventions that will be adopted by herders? – value of grasslands ‘richer’ than economics Sustainable Pastoralism
  19. 19. Sustainable Rangelands Sustainability = adoption of strategies  The processes of searching for and developing sustainable solutions may be as important as final product themselves  Adoption often requires a ‘sense of ownership’ — enhanced through local participation, ideally with a co-development of ideas, also a supportive financing & policy environment Sustainable Pastoralism
  20. 20. How do we get there?
  21. 21. In the High Altitude Rangelands… An integrative model = multiple dimensions  Environmental (livestock, ecosystem services, biodiversity)  Economic (utilization of natural resources, human needs)  Social (development aspirations, incl. cultural aspects)  Also must consider: local histories, culture, politics… Pastoralism  Rangelands  Sustainability
  22. 22. Different forms of pastoralism  Nomadism Seasonal movements, varying from year to year Often without any village or permanent settlement  Transhumance Seasonal migrations, moving to higher pastures in summer Regular encampments, winter settlements, some farming … and everything in between Pastoralism  Rangelands  Sustainability
  23. 23. Pastoralist regions IUCN | Ecosystem Management: World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism (WISP)
  24. 24. Rangelands (natural environment)  Where are rangelands? What forms? What extent?  What ecosystem goods and services? What value? Pastoralism  Rangelands  Sustainability
  25. 25. Rangelands & Wetlands Pastoralism  Rangelands  Sustainability
  26. 26. Climate change Pastoralism  Rangelands  Sustainability
  27. 27. Provisioning Supporting Cultural Regulating
  28. 28. Ecosystem Services & Human Wellbeing
  29. 29. Total Economic Value (TEV) ? Pastoralism  Rangelands  Sustainability
  30. 30. SUSTAINABILITY – an expanded synthesis!  Four Pillars of Sustainability  Economy / development  Environment / ecology  Social dimensions  Cultural aspects Pastoralism  Rangelands  Sustainability
  31. 31. How can we achieve decisions by the resource users that are favourable both to their socioeconomic situations and their rangeland environments? SUSTAINABILITY – an expanded synthesis
  32. 32. Herders’ involvement in the processes of problem identification, of research (data collection) and of solution development are certainly critical elements. SUSTAINABILITY – an expanded synthesis with Community & Culture
  33. 33. Yak Husbandry Areas
  34. 34. Five key messages  High altitude rangelands are social-ecological systems  Pastoralism is one of the most sustainable food systems in the world — particularly in marginal (semi-)arid lands  Vast areas of rangeland are situated in protected areas (incl. indigenous & community conserved areas / ICCAs), which may be considered either opportunity or constraint  More participatory processes and equitable ‘access and benefit sharing’ approaches should be advocated  Adaptive governance of resources is critical, especially in the context of rapid environmental & climate change
  35. 35. 1. Social-Ecological Systems (SES) The high altitude rangelands are coupled social-ecological systems  Humans & nature, coupled systems, interdependence  Conservation of rangelands is premised not only on biodiversity and ecological issues per se, but also – fundamentally – on ensuring that a sustainable pastoralism is practiced, i.e. multiple human dimensions are considered
  36. 36. 2. Sustainable Food Systems Pastoralism is one of the most sustainable food systems in the world — particularly in marginal (semi-)arid lands  Proven sustainability over decades and centuries  Flexible and responsive decision-making processes  Threatened by imposition of socio-political structures  Benefits from pastoralism include ecosystem services
  37. 37. Four often-overlooked facts about pastoralism (Davies & Hagelberg 2014)  Mobility of livestock is essential to maintain the health of dryland ecosystems
  38. 38. Four often-overlooked facts about pastoralism  Intensive livestock systems can degrade the environment
  39. 39. Four often-overlooked facts about pastoralism  Sustainable pastoral systems are more efficient, productive and resilient than more sedentary agricultural systems in rangelands when all factors and benefits are counted
  40. 40. Four often-overlooked facts about pastoralism  Pastoralism is a universal issue, as pastoralists share many environmental and economic challenges and opportunities
  41. 41. 3. Protected Areas in High Asia Vast areas of rangeland are situated in protected areas (incl. indigenous & community conserved areas / ICCAs) - which may be considered either opportunity or constraint
  42. 42. 4. Participatory Approaches More participatory processes and equitable ‘access and benefit sharing’ approaches should be advocated
  43. 43. 4. Participatory Approaches More participatory processes and equitable ‘access and benefit sharing’ approaches should be advocated  Collaborative management – for environment resources, also for education and health services
  44. 44. 4. Participatory Approaches  Herders cooperatives for local development, search for environmentally and socio-culturally sound solutions
  45. 45. 4. Participatory Approaches  Sustainable financing with local management (CDRFs)
  46. 46. 4. Participatory Approaches  Giving voice to local communities, marginalized groups
  47. 47. 5. Adaptive Governance Adaptive governance of resources is critical, especially in the context of rapid environmental & climate change  Pastoralism – adaptive and responsive over time  Comprehensive value of rangelands and extensive forms of pastoralism should be highlighted, awareness raised
  48. 48. Dr J Marc Foggin marc.foggin@ucentralasia.org foggin@plateauperspectives.org UNIVERSITY OF CENTRALASIA

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