Pastoralism: A critical asset for food security under global climate change

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Publication details

JournalAnimal Frontiers
DatePublished - Jan 2013
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)42-50
Original languageEnglish


Pastoralism is defined by a specialization to take advantage of the characteristic instability of rangeland environments. Through strategic mobility, pastoralism finds an asset in the existence of dynamic variability in the drylands, where sedentary agriculture or mixed farming find a problem in their lack of uniformity and stability.

It is crucial to distinguish between the vulnerability that is the business of pastoral systems to manage and the vulnerability that arises from obstacles to operate the system.

Unless investments are shifted from replacing pastoralism to developing pastoralism on its own terms, we risk jeopardizing food security well beyond the limits of the drylands, and we risk missing pastoralism’s important lesson on turning environmental instability into an asset for food production.

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