Modern Pastoralism and Conservation

Old Problems, New Challenges

Edited by Troy Sternberg and Dawn Chatty

Changing pastoral dynamics make knowledge of pastoralism vital to understanding landscapes, development and governance across dryland regions. Modern Pastoralism and Conservation: Old Problems, New Challenges presents new pastoral research from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The volume addresses the nature and viability of pastoralism in practice and examines current pastoral conditions in diverse locations. Pastoralists engage with changing climatic and environmental conditions whilst encountering policy, population and socio-economic challenges. Issues of transformation and sustainability are at the heart of the book, whose chapters highlight the contemporary practice of pastoralism in order to enhance understanding of this unique livelihood and lifestyle. The Commission on Nomadic Peoples (CNP), part of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Union Sciences (IUAES), unites researchers, practitioners, government and non-government organisations to further pastoral knowledge. As Commission members, the authors have had extensive interactions with and possess rich experience of diverse pastoral societies. This book’s chapters originate in papers presented at CNP sessions during the 2009 IUAES Congress in Kunming, China. Two perspectives were stressed: pastoralism in an international context and in the host nation, China. This approach identified both the impact of rapid development on nomadic practices and livelihoods in China and the country’s growing integration into the global pastoral research community. Modern Pastoralism and Conservation: Old Problems, New Challenges builds an international perspective on the wide-ranging approaches and challenges to traditional pastoralism in the twenty-first century.


Read full text on JSTOR.


Troy Sternberg’s research examines how climate hazards interact with societies and the environment in Asian drylands. He focuses on hazard identification, social exposure and evolving climate and hazard impact on human systems. Work with pastoralists in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and China stresses the impact of drought and extreme weather on rural communities and landscapes. Troy is a researcher at the School of Geography, Oxford University.

Dawn Chatty is Professor of Anthropology and Forced Migration at the University of Oxford. She is also Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford Department of International Development at the University. Her ethnographic interests lie in the Middle East, particularly with nomadic pastoral tribes and refugee young people. Her research interests include a number of forced migration and development issues such as conservation-induced displacement, tribal resettlement, modern technology and social change, gender and development and the impact of prolonged conflict on refugee young people.

‘… the present collection will be of real interest to development professionals, researchers and students of pastoralist systems in arid and semi-arid lands around the world, whether tropical, temperate or boreal.’

Katherine HomewoodPastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice

‘… the importance of the volume exceeds its title’s remit.’ 

Anne PorterEnvironmental History


1. Contemporary Pastoralism: Old Problems, New Challenges. Anatoly M. Khazanov

2. Cattle Breeding, Complexity and Mobility in a Structurally Unpredictable Environment: the WoDaaBe Herders of Niger. Saverio Krätli

3. Disentangling ‘Forced Displacement’ from Pastoral Mobility: Recovery and Reconstruction in the Sahel and in South Sudan. Salem Mezhoud and Clare Oxby

4. Pastoralists at Crossroads: Community Resource Governance in the Context of a Transitioning Rangelands Tenure System. Stephen S. Moiko 

5. Booking and Grabbing Land: Strategies of Appropriation in Loita Maasailand, Kenya. Angela Kronenburg García

6. Adapting to Biodiversity Conservation: The Mobile Pastoral Harasiis Tribe of Oman. Dawn Chatty

7. Tradition and Transition in the Mongolian Pastoral Environment. Troy Sternberg

8. Theorising Ecological Migration. Emily T. Yeh 

9. Can Ecological Migration Policy in the Tibetan Plateau Region Achieve both Conservation Goals and Human Development Goals? A Review of the Canadian Experience of Relocation and Settlement. J. Marc Foggin and Gongbu Zhaxi

Publication date: 1 July 2013, 220pp. Halftones, maps, figures.
ISBN 978-1-874267-74-4 (PB) £25