Retraction and expansion of flock mobility in central asia: costs and consequences
AbstractSeasonal and spatial fluctuations in forage quality, accessibility and output provide strong incentives for migratory stock keeping in Central Asia. Over the past century, mobile livestock husbandry has either been suppressed or collapsed and a fragmented pattern of rangeland use has ensued. Policy shifts underlying these processes in Kazakstan are traced. New patterns are evident whereby some flocks are again being moved by season to different pastures. In the market economy, individual families now decide on the costs and benefits of moving their animals.
Results are reported from a multidisciplinary study of two rangeland areas in Kazakstan, including a survey of 46 households interviewed quarterly during 2001–2002 and community-level analyses of grazing patterns. Flock mobility is considered in terms of flock size and household assets of labour and capital. For most households in the study sites, movement is neither economically attractive nor absolutely necessary. Having enough resources is not a sufficient condition for moving. Other factors that bear upon the decision to move include the degree of grazing pressure around the shepherds' home base. In heavily stocked areas, even small-scale producers are finding ways of moving their animals. In isolated or abandoned areas where forage is plentiful, movement can be minimised even for large flocks.
Keywords: history, household characteristics, pasture productivity, policy
African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2004, 21(3): 159–169