Following the Green: Coupled pastoral migration and vegetation dynamics in the Altay and Tianshan Mountains of Xinjiang, China

Chuan Liao, Stephen J. Morreale, Karim Aly S. Kassam, Patrick J. Sullivan, Ding Fei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Pastoralists depend on extensive herding to ensure forage availability and pasture sustainability; however, their mobile lifestyles are being challenged by sedentarization policies of the Chinese government. This paper quantifies pastoral migration patterns and their relationships with vegetation dynamics in the Altay and Tianshan Mountains of Xinjiang, China. Using data collected from semi-structured interviews, land use mapping, Geographic Positioning System (GPS) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) imagery, we show that migration patterns in the two study areas differ regarding distance, elevation change, number of times of migration, and land use. Our analysis reveals that greater migration efforts are largely driven by the shortage of forage in the overwintering villages. The results strongly suggest that current and potential sedentarization policies will compromise the pastoralists' welfare. Therefore, future pastoral policy-making must be built on the long-established relationships between migration patterns and vegetation dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-70
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Geography
Volume46
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

vegetation dynamics
mountains
migration
China
vegetation
mountain
land use
forage
herding
overwintering
lifestyle
villages
interviews
positioning system
pastures
policy making
NDVI
compromise
shortage
pasture

Keywords

  • China
  • Migration
  • NDVI
  • Pastoralism
  • Vegetation dynamics
  • Xinjiang

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

Cite this

Following the Green : Coupled pastoral migration and vegetation dynamics in the Altay and Tianshan Mountains of Xinjiang, China. / Liao, Chuan; Morreale, Stephen J.; Kassam, Karim Aly S.; Sullivan, Patrick J.; Fei, Ding.

In: Applied Geography, Vol. 46, 01.2014, p. 61-70.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Liao, Chuan ; Morreale, Stephen J. ; Kassam, Karim Aly S. ; Sullivan, Patrick J. ; Fei, Ding. / Following the Green : Coupled pastoral migration and vegetation dynamics in the Altay and Tianshan Mountains of Xinjiang, China. In: Applied Geography. 2014 ; Vol. 46. pp. 61-70.
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