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    Author(s): Stephen G. Reynolds
    Date: 2006
    Source: In: Bedunah, Donald J., McArthur, E. Durant, and Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria, comps. 2006. Rangelands of Central Asia: Proceedings of the Conference on Transformations, Issues, and Future Challenges. 2004 January 27; Salt Lake City, UT. Proceeding RMRS-P-39. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 92-98
    Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (560 B)

    Description

    This case study from Altai in Xinjiang, N.W. China looks at a traditional transhumant system where for centuries Kazakh herders have moved with their livestock from low desert areas, where they winter, to high pastures for rich summer grazing. A project (from 1988 to 1997) introduced winter bases with permanent housing and irrigated forages and cash crops. A 1999/2000 study compared the socio-economic conditions of a group with winter bases and another of nomads. Families with bases had far higher incomes, increasing herds, lower risks and good access to social services. Although alfalfa yields are still far below their potential, winter weight loss in sheep has been converted to weight gain; flocks are mated earlier and lambs ready to slaughter in their first year. Nomadic families had lower incomes, little access to services and own what they carry in their baggage train; their sheep still lose weight in winter and lamb late, so they are kept through a second summer. Because more animals are now carried through the winter there is additional pressure on spring and autumn pastures as well as summer grazing lands. Although there are some changes in the social structures, the project has successfully demonstrated the complementarity of mobile pastoralism and sedentary agro-pastoral development. However, signs of increasing pressure on the grasslands require careful monitoring to determine long-term change in rangeland conditions.

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    Citation

    Reynolds, Stephen G. 2006. Providing winter bases for transhumant herders in Altai, Xinjiang China: Some consequences and lessons learned. In: Bedunah, Donald J., McArthur, E. Durant, and Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria, comps. 2006. Rangelands of Central Asia: Proceedings of the Conference on Transformations, Issues, and Future Challenges. 2004 January 27; Salt Lake City, UT. Proceeding RMRS-P-39. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 92-98

    Keywords

    Xinjiang China, transhumant system, winter bases, irrigated fodder

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