Sociocultural and ecological systems of pastoralism in inner Asia: Cases from xinjiang and inner mongolia in china and the pamirs of badakhshan, afghanistan

Karim Aly S. Kassam, Chuan Liao, Shikui Dong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

In pastoral societies, economic and ecological aims are not necessarily in conflict. These societies, through mobility, engage different ecological niches as a livelihood strategy. Specific case studies from Inner Asia indicate that instead of seeking to replace pastoralism as an ecological profession through forced sedentarization, governments should seek to enhance its historically proven potential for food and livelihood security. The case from the Altay Mountains and the Tian Shan documents the effect of sedentarizing pastoral communities, resulting in the removal of sociocultural and ecological diversity, with profound consequences on income. It is an example of the central government asserting administrative authority in the name of ecological restoration while pursuing strictly an instrumental agenda of economic extraction of key renewable and nonrenewable resources. The case from Inner Mongolia shows increased economic and ecological vulnerability of pastoral societies caused by government-induced sedentarization programs but also illustrates the adaptive capacity of pastoral institutions under such policies. The final case, from the Pamirs, shows that under conditions of political and economic stress, interactions between diverse ecological professions such as farmers and herders is central to livelihood and food security through mutual dependence. It is the basis for survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBuilding Resilience of Human-Natural Systems of Pastoralism in the Developing World
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Perspectives
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Pages137-175
Number of pages39
ISBN (Electronic)9783319307329
ISBN (Print)9783319307305
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Engineering(all)

Cite this

Kassam, K. A. S., Liao, C., & Dong, S. (2016). Sociocultural and ecological systems of pastoralism in inner Asia: Cases from xinjiang and inner mongolia in china and the pamirs of badakhshan, afghanistan. In Building Resilience of Human-Natural Systems of Pastoralism in the Developing World: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (pp. 137-175). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-30732-9_4