Nomadic pastoralism
   HOME

TheInfoList



Nomadic pastoralism is a form of
pastoralism Pastoralism is a form of animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, animal fiber, fibre, milk, eggs, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding and th ...
when
livestock Livestock are the domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable ...
are
herded
herded
in order to seek for fresh
pasture Pasture (from the Latin ''pastus'', past participle of ''pascere'', "to feed") is land used for grazing. Pasture lands in the narrow sense are enclosed tracts of farmland, grazed by domesticated livestock, such as horses, cattle, sheep, or Domesti ...

pasture
s on which to
graze
graze
. True nomads follow an irregular pattern of movement, in contrast with
transhumance Transhumance is a type of pastoralism or nomadism, a seasonal movement of livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions (''vertical transhumance''), it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and lower ...

transhumance
where seasonal pastures are fixed. However this distinction is often not observed and the term nomad used for both—in historical cases the regularity of movements is often unknown in any case. The herded
livestock Livestock are the domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable ...
include
cattle Cattle, or cows (female) and bulls (male), are the most common type of large domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the repr ...

cattle
,
water buffalo The water buffalo (''Bubalus bubalis''), also called the domestic water buffalo or Asian water buffalo, is a large bovid The Bovidae comprise the biological family Family ( la, familia, plural ') is one of the eight major hierarchical tax ...

water buffalo
,
yak The domestic yak (''Bos grunniens'') is a type of long-haired domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care o ...

yak
s,
llamas The llama (; ) (''Lama glama'') is a domesticated South American camelid, widely used as a List of meat animals, meat and pack animal by Inca empire, Andean cultures since the Pre-Columbian era. Llamas are very social animals and live with ...

llamas
,
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order(biology), order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species i ...

sheep
,
goat The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra hircus'') is a domesticated species of goat-antelope The subfamily Caprinae is part of the ruminant Ruminants are herbivorous mammals of the suborder Ruminantia that are able to acquire nutrient ...

goat
s,
reindeer The reindeer (''Rangifer tarandus''), also known as the caribou in North America, is a species of deer with circumpolar distribution, native to Arctic, subarctic, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions of northern Europe, Siberia, and North ...

reindeer
,
horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated odd-toed ungulate mammal. It belongs to the taxonomic family Equidae and is one of two Extant taxon, extant subspecies of wild horse, ''Equus ferus''. The horse has evolution of the horse, ...

horse
s,
donkey The donkey or ass (''Equus africanus asinus'') is a domesticated member of the horse family, Equidae. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African wild ass, ''E. africanus''. The donkey has been used as a working animal for at least 5000 ...
s or
camel A camel is an even-toed ungulate in the genus ''Camelus'' that bears distinctive fatty deposits known as "humps" on its back. Camels have long been domesticated and, as livestock, they provide food (milk Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid ...
s, or mixtures of species.
Nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, Nomadic pastoralism, pastoral nomads (owning lives ...

Nomad
ic pastoralism is commonly practised in regions with little
arable land Arable land (from the la, arabilis, "able to be ploughed") is any land capable of being ploughed and used to grow crops.'' Oxford English Dictionary'', "arable, ''adj''. and ''n.''" Oxford University Press (Oxford), 2013. Alternatively, for the ...
, typically in the
developing world Image:Imf-advanced-un-least-developed-2008.svg, 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the International Monetary Fund, IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A developing country is a country with a less developed Industrial sector, i ...
, especially in the steppe lands north of the agricultural zone of Eurasia. Of the estimated 30–40 million nomadic pastoralists worldwide, most are found in
central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north, including the former Soviet Union, Soviet republics of the Sovi ...
and the
Sahel The Sahel (; ar, ساحل ' , "coast, shore") is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic realm A biogeographic realm or ecozone is the broadest biogeographic division of Earth's land surface, based on distributional patterns of terrestrial orga ...

Sahel
region of North and West Africa, such as Fulani,
Tuaregs The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
, and
Toubou The Toubou, or Tubu (from Tebu languages, Old Tebu, meaning "rock people"), are a Saharan languages, Saharan ethnic group inhabiting northern Chad, southern Libya, northeastern Niger and northwestern Sudan. They live either as Nomadic pastoralism, ...

Toubou
, with some also in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental organizations), such as Codex Alimentarius in food, the World Health Organi ...

Middle East
, such as traditionally
Bedouins The Bedouin, Beduin or Bedu (; , singular ; , singular ) are nomadic Arab Tribes who have historically inhabited the desert regions in the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, Upper Mesopotamia, and North Africa. However, the Arabian Peninsula i ...
, and in other parts of Africa, such as
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It is the List of African countries by population, most populous country in Africa; geographically situated between the Sahel to the north, and the Gulf of ...

Nigeria
and
Somaliland Somaliland ( so, Somaliland; ar, صوماليلاند ', '), officially the Republic of Somaliland ( so, Jamhuuriyadda Soomaaliland, ar, جمهورية صوماليلاند ''Jumhūrīyat Ṣūmālīlānd''), is a self-declared soverei ...

Somaliland
. Increasing numbers of stock may lead to
overgrazing Overgrazing occurs when plants are exposed to intensive grazing In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary huma ...

overgrazing
of the area and
desertification Desertification is a type of land degradation Land degradation is a process in which the value of the biophysical environment is affected by a combination of human-induced processes acting upon the land. It is viewed as any change or distur ...
if lands are not allowed to fully recover between one grazing period and the next. Increased
enclosure Enclosure or Inclosure is a term, used in English landownership, that refers to the appropriation of "waste" or "common land" enclosing it and by doing so depriving commoners of their ancient rights of access and privilege. Agreements to enclo ...

enclosure
and fencing of land has reduced the amount of land for this practice. There is substantive uncertainty over the extent to which the various causes for degradation affect grassland. Different causes have been identified which include overgrazing, mining, agricultural reclamation, pests and rodents, soil properties, tectonic activity, and climate change. Simultaneously, it is maintained that some, such as overgrazing and overstocking, may be overstated while others, such as climate change, mining and agricultural reclamation, may be under reported. In this context, there is also uncertainty as to the long-term effect of human behavior on the grassland as compared to non-biotic factors.


Origin and history

Nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, Nomadic pastoralism, pastoral nomads (owning lives ...

Nomad
ic pastoralism was a result of the
Neolithic revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human cultures during the Neolithic period from a lifestyle of hunter-gatherer, hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and sedentism, se ...
and the rise of
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domestication, domesticated species created food ...
. During that revolution, humans began domesticating animals and plants for food and started forming cities. Nomadism generally has existed in symbiosis with such settled cultures trading animal products (meat, hides, wool, cheese and other animal products) for manufactured items not produced by the nomadic herders.
Henri Fleisch Reverend Father Henri Fleisch (1 January 1904 – 10 February 1985) was a French archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often consider ...
tentatively suggested the
Shepherd Neolithic Shepherd Neolithic is a name given by archaeologists to a style (or industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a closely related set of ra ...
industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a closely related set of raw materials, goods, or services. For example, one might refer to the wood industry ...
of
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to Lebanon–Syria border, the north and east and Israel to Blue Line ...

Lebanon
may date to the
Epipaleolithic In archaeology, the Epipalaeolithic or Epipaleolithic (sometimes Epi-paleolithic etc.) is a term for a period occurring between the Upper Paleolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) also called the Late Stone Age The Later Stone ...
and that it may have been used by one of the first cultures of
nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, Nomadic pastoralism, pastoral nomads (owning lives ...

nomad
ic
shepherd A shepherd or sheepherder is a person who tends, herds, feeds, or guards herds of sheep. ''Shepherd'' derives from Old English ''sceaphierde (''sceap'' 'sheep' + ''hierde'' 'herder'). ''Shepherding is one of the world's oldest occupations, and ...

shepherd
s in the Beqaa valley. Andrew Sherratt demonstrates that "early farming populations used livestock mainly for meat, and that other applications were explored as agriculturalists adapted to new conditions, especially in the semi‐arid zone." In the past it was asserted that pastoral nomads left no presence archaeologically or were impoverished, but this has now been challenged, and was clearly not so for many ancient
Eurasian nomad The Eurasian nomads were a large group of nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation which regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers ...
s, who have left very rich
kurgan A kurgan (russian: link=no, курга́н, uk, link=no, курга́н, висока могила) is a type of tumulus File:Gamla uppsala.jpg, The Royal mounds of Gamla Uppsala in Sweden from the 5th and 6th centuries originally the site h ...

kurgan
burial sites. Pastoral nomadic sites are identified based on their location outside the zone of agriculture, the absence of grains or grain-processing equipment, limited and characteristic architecture, a predominance of sheep and goat bones, and by ethnography, ethnographic analogy to modern pastoral nomadic peoples Juris Zarins has proposed that pastoral nomadism began as a cultural lifestyle in the wake of the 6200 BC climatic crisis when Harifian pottery making hunter-gatherers in the Sinai fused with Pre-Pottery Neolithic B agriculturalists to produce the Munhata culture, a nomadic lifestyle based on animal domestication, developing into the Yarmoukian and thence into a circum-Arabian nomadic pastoral complex, and spreading Proto-Semitic languages. In Bronze Age Central Asia, nomadic populations are associated with the earliest transmissions of millet and wheat grains through the region that eventually became central for the Silk Road. By the medieval period in Central Asia, nomadic communities exhibited isotopically diverse diets, suggesting a multitude of subsistence strategies.


Nomadic pattern in season

Often traditional nomadic groups settle into a regular seasonal pattern of transhumance. An example of a normal nomadic cycle in the northern hemisphere is: * Spring (early April to the end of June) – transition * Summer (end of June to late September) – a higher plateau * Autumn (mid-September to end of November) – transition * Winter (from December to the end of March) – desert plains. The movements in this example are about 180 to 200 km. Camps are established in the same place each year; often semi-permanent shelters are built in at least one place on this migration route. In sub-regions such as Chad, the nomadic pastoralist cycle is as follows: * In the rainy season, the groups live in a village intended for a comfortable stay. The villages are often made of sturdy material as clay. Old men and women remain in this village when the other people move the herds in the dry season. * In the dry season, the people move their herds to southern villages with a more temporary character. They then move inland, where they stay in tent camps. In Chad, the sturdy villages are called hillé, the less sturdy villages are called dankhout and the tents ferik.


David Christian's account

David Christian (historian), David Christian made the following observations about pastoralism. The agriculturist lives from domesticated plants and the pastoralist lives from domesticated animals. Since animals are higher on the food chain, pastoralism supports a thinner population than agriculture. Pastoralism predominates where low rainfall makes farming impractical. Full pastoralism required the Secondary products revolution when animals began to be used for wool, milk, riding and traction as well as meat. Where grass is poor herds must be moved, which leads to nomadism. Some peoples are fully nomadic while others live in sheltered winter camps and lead their herds into the steppe in summer. Some nomads travel long distances, usually north in summer and south in winter. Near mountains, herds are led uphill in summer and downhill in winter (
transhumance Transhumance is a type of pastoralism or nomadism, a seasonal movement of livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions (''vertical transhumance''), it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and lower ...

transhumance
). Pastoralists often trade with or raid their agrarian neighbors. Christian distinguished ‘Inner Eurasia’, which was pastoral with a few hunter-gatherers in the far north, from ‘Outer Eurasia’, a crescent of agrarian civilizations from Europe through India to China. High civilization is based on agriculture where tax-paying peasants support landed aristocrats, kings, cities, literacy and scholars. Pastoral societies are less developed and as a result, according to Christian, more egalitarian. One tribe would often dominate its neighbors, but these ‘empires’ usually broke up after a hundred years or so. The heartland of pastoralism is the Eurasian steppe. In the center of Eurasia pastoralism extended south to Iran and surrounded agrarian oasis cities. When pastoral and agrarian societies went to war, horse-borne mobility counterbalanced greater numbers. Attempts by agrarian civilizations to conquer the steppe usually failed until the last few centuries. Pastoralists frequently raided and sometimes collected regular tribute from their farming neighbors. Especially in north China and Iran, they would sometimes conquer agricultural societies, but these dynasties were usually short-lived and broke up when the nomads became ‘civilized’ and lost their warlike virtues.


Around the world

Nomadic pastoralism was historically widespread throughout less fertile regions of Earth. It is found in areas of low rainfall such as the Arabian Peninsula inhabited by Bedouins, as well as Northeast Africa inhabited, among other ethnic groups, by Somali people, Somalis (where camel, cattle, sheep and goat nomadic pastoralism is especially common). Nomadic
transhumance Transhumance is a type of pastoralism or nomadism, a seasonal movement of livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions (''vertical transhumance''), it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and lower ...

transhumance
is also common in areas of harsh climate, such as Northern Europe and Russia inhabited by the indigenous Sami people, Nenets people and Chukchis. There are an estimated 30–40 million nomads in the world. Pastoral nomads and semi-nomadic pastoralists form a significant but declining minority in such countries as Saudi Arabia (probably less than 3%), Iran (4%), and Afghanistan (at most 10%). They comprise less than 2% of the population in the countries of North Africa except Libya and Mauritania. The Eurasian steppe has been largely populated by pastoralist nomads since the late prehistoric times, with a succession of peoples known by the names given to them by surrounding literate sedentism, sedentary societies, including the Bronze Age Proto-Indo-Europeans, and later Proto-Indo-Iranians, Scythians, Sarmatians, Cimmerians, Massagetae, Alans, Pechenegs, Cumans, Kipchaks, Karluks, Saka, Yuezhi, Wusun, Jie people, Jie, Xiongnu, Xianbei, Khitan people, Khitan, Pannonian Avars, Huns, Mongols, Dzungars and various Turkics. The Mongols in what is now Mongolia, Russia and China, and the Tatars or Turkic people of Eastern Europe and nomadic pastoralism in Central Asia, Central Asia were nomadic people who practiced nomadic transhumance on harsh Asian steppes. Some remnants of these populations are nomadic to this day. In Mongolia, about 40% of the population continues to live a traditional nomadic lifestyle. In China, it is estimated that a little over five million herders are dispersed over the pastoral counties, and more than 11 million over the semi-pastoral counties. This brings the total of the (semi)nomadic herder population to over 16 million, in general living in remote, scattered and resource-poor communities. In the Middle Hills and Himalaya of Nepal, people living above about 2,000 m practise
transhumance Transhumance is a type of pastoralism or nomadism, a seasonal movement of livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions (''vertical transhumance''), it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and lower ...

transhumance
and nomadic pastoralism because settled agriculture becomes less productive due to steep slopes, cooler temperatures and limited irrigation possibilities. Distances between summer and winter pasture may be short, for example in the vicinity of Pokhara where a valley at about 800 meters elevation is less than 20 km. from alpine pastures just below the Annapurna Himalaya, or distances may be 100 km or more. For example, in Rapti zone some 100 km west of Pokhara the Kham Magar move their herds between winter pastures just north of India and summer pastures on the southern slopes of Dhaulagiri Himalaya. In far western Nepal, ethnic Tibetans living in Dolpo and other valleys north among the high Himalaya moved their herds north to winter on the plains of the upper Yarlung Zangbo River, Brahmaputra basin in Tibet proper, until this practice was prohibited after Invasion of Tibet (1950–1951), China took over Tibet in 1950–51. The nomadic Sami people, an indigenous people of northern Finland, Sweden, Norway, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia, practise a form of nomadic transhumance based on
reindeer The reindeer (''Rangifer tarandus''), also known as the caribou in North America, is a species of deer with circumpolar distribution, native to Arctic, subarctic, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions of northern Europe, Siberia, and North ...

reindeer
. In the 14th and 15th century, when reindeer population was sufficiently reduced that Sami could not subsist on hunting alone, some Sami, organized along family lines, became reindeer herders. Each family has traditional territories on which they herd, arriving at roughly the same time each season. Only a small fraction of Sami have subsisted on reindeer herding over the past century; as the most colorful part of the population, they are well known. But as elsewhere in Europe, transhumance is dying out. The Mesta was an association of sheep owners, (Spanish nobility and religious orders) that had an important economic and political role in kingdom of Castile, medieval Castile. To preserve the Right-of-way (transportation), rights of way of its transhumant herds through ''Glen, cañadas'', the Mesta acted against small peasants. In Chad, nomadic pastoralists include the Zaghawa people, Zaghawa, Kreda, and Mimi (people), Mimi. Farther north in Egypt and western Libya, the
Bedouins The Bedouin, Beduin or Bedu (; , singular ; , singular ) are nomadic Arab Tribes who have historically inhabited the desert regions in the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, Upper Mesopotamia, and North Africa. However, the Arabian Peninsula i ...
also practice pastoralism.


Cross-border pastoralism

Sometimes nomadic pastoralists move their herds across international borders in search of new grazing terrain or for trade. This cross-border activity can occasionally lead to tensions with national governments as this activity is often informal and beyond their control and regulation. In East Africa, for example, over 95% of cross-border trade is through unofficial channels and the unofficial trade of live cattle, camels, sheep and goats from Ethiopia sold to Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti generates an estimated total value of between US$250 and US$300 million annually (100 times more than the official figure).Pavanello, Sara 2010
Working across borders - Harnessing the potential of cross-border activities to improve livelihood security in the Horn of Africa drylands
London: Overseas Development Institute
This trade helps lower food prices, increase food security, relieve border tensions and promote regional integration. However, there are also risks as the unregulated and undocumented nature of this trade runs risks, such as allowing disease to spread more easily across national borders. Furthermore, governments are unhappy with lost tax revenue and foreign exchange revenues. There have been initiatives seeking to promote cross-border trade and also document it, in order to both stimulate regional growth and food security, but also to allow the effective vaccination of livestock. Initiatives include Regional Resilience Enhancement Against Drought (RREAD), the Enhanced Livelihoods in Mandera Triangle/Enhanced Livelihoods in Southern Ethiopia (ELMT/ELSE) as part of the Regional Enhanced Livelihoods in Pastoral Areas (RELPA) programme in East Africa, and the Regional Livelihoods Advocacy Project (REGLAP) funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office, European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO).


See also

* Holistic management


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Nomadic Pastoralism Pastoralists, * Cultural anthropology Livestock Nomads Transhumance