Pastoralism is the branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock. It is animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as cattle, camels, goats, yaks, llamas, reindeers, horses and sheep.

"Pastoralism" often has a mobile aspect but this can take many forms and be at different scales. Sedentary pastoralism is becoming more common as the hardening of political borders, expansion of crop agriculture, and building of fences reduces ability to move. Mobile pastoralism includes moving herds distances in search of fresh pasture and water, something that can occur daily or even within a few hours, to transhumance, where animals are moved seasonally, to nomadism, where pastoralists and families move with the animals year-round. In sedentary pastoralism, or pastoral farming, pastoralists grow crops and improve pastures for their livestock. One example is a savanna area where pastoralists and their animals gather when rainwater is abundant and the pasture is rich, then scatter during the drying of the savanna.[1] . Another is the movement of livestock from summer pastures in lowlands, to montane pastures in the summer where grass is green and plentiful during the dry season [2] . Grazing in woodlands and forests may be referred to as silvopastoralism [3].

Pastoralist herds interact with their environment, and mediate human relations with the environment as a way of turning uncultivated plants like wild grass into consumable, high quality, food. In many places, grazing herds on savannas and woodlands can help maintain the biodiversity of the savannas and prevent them from evolving into dense shrublands or forests. Grazing and browsing at the appropriate levels often can increase biodiversity in Mediterranean climate regions [4], [5]. Pastoralists may also use fire to make ecosystems more suitable for grazing and browsing animals. For instance, the Turkana people of northwest Kenya use fire to prevent the invasion of the savanna by woody plant species. Biomass of the domesticated and wild animals was increased by a higher quality of grass.

Pastoralism is found in many variations throughout the world, generally where enviornmental charactersitics such as aridity, poor soils, cold or hot temperature, and lack of water make crop growing difficult or impossible. Pastoralism remains a way of life in Africa, the Tibetan plateau, the Eurasian steppes, the Andes, Patagonia, the Pampas, Australia, and other many other places. Composition of herds, management practices, social organization and all other aspects of pastoralism vary between areas and between social groups. Many traditional practices have also had to adapt to the changing circumstance of the modern world, including climatic conditions affecting the availability of grasses and the loss of mobility over large landscapes. Ranches of the United States and sheep stations and cattle stations of Australia are seen by some as modern variations.

Livestock market in Mali
Livestock market in Mali.


Sameul Daniell - Kora-Khokhoi preparing to move - 1805
Khoikhoi dismantling their huts, preparing to move to new pastures. Aquatint by Samuel Daniell (1805). The Khoikhoi practiced pastoralism for thousands of years in southern Africa.

One theory is that pastoralism was created from mixed farming. Bates and Lees proposed that it was the incorporation of irrigation into farming which ensued in specialization.[6] Advantages of mixed farming include reducing risk of failure, spreading labour, and re-utilizing resources. The importance of these advantages and disadvantages to different farmers differs according to the sociocultural preferences of the farmers and the biophysical conditions as determined by rainfall, radiation, soil type, and disease.[7] The increased productivity of irrigation agriculture led to an increase in population and an added impact on resources. Bordering areas of land remained in use for animal breeding. This meant that large distances had to be covered by herds to collect sufficient forage. Specialization occurred as a result of the increasing importance of both intensive agriculture and pastoralism. Both agriculture and pastoralism developed alongside each other, with continuous interactions.[6]

There is another theory that suggests pastoralism evolved from hunting and gathering. Hunters of wild goats and sheep were knowledgeable about herd mobility and the needs of the animals. Such hunters were mobile and followed the herds on their seasonal rounds. Undomesticated herds were chosen to become more controllable for the proto-pastoralist nomadic hunter and gatherer groups by taming and domesticating them. Hunter-gatherers' strategies in the past have been very diverse and contingent upon the local environment conditions, like those of mixed farmers. Foraging strategies have included hunting or trapping big game and smaller animals, fishing, collecting shellfish or insects, and gathering wild plant foods such as fruits, seeds, and nuts.[8] These diverse strategies for survival amongst the migratory herds could also provide an evolutionary route towards nomadic pastoralism.


Pastoralism occurs in uncultivated areas. Wild animals eat the forage from the marginal lands and humans survive from milk, blood, and often meat of the herds and often trade by-products like wool and milk for money and food.[9]

Pastoralists do not exist at basic subsistence. Pastoralists often compile wealth and participate in international trade. Pastoralists have trade relations with agriculturalists, horticulturalists, and other groups. Pastoralists are not extensively dependent on milk, blood, and meat of their herd. McCabe noted that when common property institutions are created, in long-lived communities, resource sustainability is much higher, which is evident in the East African grasslands of pastoralist populations.[10] However, it needs to be noted that the property rights structure is only one of the many different parameters that affect the sustainability of resources, and common or private property per se, does not necessarily lead to sustainability.[11]

Some pastoralists supplement herding with hunting and gathering, fishing and/or small-scale farming or pastoral farming.


Mobility allows pastoralists to adapt to the environment, which opens up the possibility for both fertile and infertile regions to support human existence. Important components of pastoralism include low population density, mobility, vitality, and intricate information systems. The system is transformed to fit the environment rather than adjusting the environment to support the "food production system."[12] Mobile pastoralists can often cover a radius of a hundred to five hundred kilometers.

Pastoralists and their livestock have impacted the environment. Lands long used for pastoralism have transformed under the forces of grazing livestock and anthropogenic fire. Fire was a method of revitalizing pastureland and preventing forest regrowth. The collective environmental weights of fire and livestock browsing have transformed landscapes in many parts of the world. Fire has permitted pastoralists to tend the land for their livestock. Political boundaries are based on environmental boundaries.[13] The Maquis shrublands of the Mediterranean region are dominated by pyrophytic plants that thrive under conditions of anthropogenic fire and livestock grazing.[14]

Nomadic pastoralists have a global food-producing strategy depending on the management of herd animals for meat, skin, wool, milk, blood, manure, and transport. Nomadic pastoralism is practiced in different climates and environments with daily movement and seasonal migration. Pastoralists are among the most flexible populations. Pastoralist societies have had field armed men protect their livestock and their people and then to return into a disorganized pattern of foraging. The products of the herd animals are the most important resources, although the use of other resources, including domesticated and wild plants, hunted animals, and goods accessible in a market economy are not excluded. The boundaries between states impact the viability of subsistence and trade relations with cultivators.[15]

Pastoralist strategies typify effective adaptation to the environment.[16] Precipitation differences are evaluated by pastoralists. In East Africa, different animals are taken to specific regions throughout the year that corresponds to the seasonal patterns of precipitation.[17] Transhumance is the seasonal migration of livestock and pastoralists between higher and lower pastures.

Some pastoralists are constantly moving, which may put them at odds with sedentary people of towns and cities. The resulting conflicts can result in war for disputed lands. These disputes are recorded in ancient times in the Middle East, as well as for East Asia.[18][19] Other pastoralists are able to remain in the same location which results in longer-standing housing.

Different mobility patterns can be observed: Somali pastoralists keep their animals in one of the harshest environments but they have evolved of the centuries. Somalis have well developed pastoral culture where complete system of life and governance has been refined. Somali poetry depicts humans interactions, pastoral animals, beasts on the prowl, and other natural things such the rain, celestial events and historic events of significance.

Mobility was an important strategy for the Ariaal; however with the loss of grazing land impacted by the growth in population, severe drought, the expansion of agriculture, and the expansion of commercial ranches and game parks, mobility was lost. The poorest families were driven out of pastoralism and into towns to take jobs. Few Ariaal families benefited from education, healthcare, and income earning.[20]

The flexibility of pastoralists to respond to environmental change was reduced by colonization. For example, mobility was limited in the Sahel region of Africa with settlement being encouraged. The population tripled and sanitation and medical treatment were improved.

The Afar pastoralists in Ethiopia uses an indigenous communication method called dagu for information. This helps them in getting crucial information about climate and availability of pastures at various locations.


Pastoralists have mental maps of the value of specific environments at different times of year. Pastoralists have an understanding of ecological processes and the environment.[21] Information sharing is vital for creating knowledge through the networks of linked societies.[22]

Pastoralists produce food in the world’s harshest environments, and pastoral production supports the livelihoods of rural populations on almost half of the world’s land. Several hundred million people are pastoralists, mostly in Africa and Asia. Pastoralists manage rangelands covering about a third of the Earth’s terrestrial surface and are able to produce food where crop production is not possible.

Pastoralism has been shown, "based on a review of many studies, to be between 2 and 10 times more productive per unit of land than the capital intensive alternatives that have been put forward". However, many of these benefits go unmeasured and are frequently squandered by policies and investments that seek to replace pastoralism with more capital intensive modes of production.[23] They have traditionally suffered from poor understanding, marginalization and exclusion from dialogue. The Pastoralist Knowledge Hub, managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN serves as a knowledge repository on technical excellence on pastoralism as well as "a neutral forum for exchange and alliance building among pastoralists and stakeholders working on pastoralist issues".[24]

Pastoralism and farm animal genetic resource

There is a variation in genetic makeup of the farm animals driven mainly by natural and human based selection.[25] Pastoralists in large part of Sub Saharan Africa are preferring livestock breeds which are adapted to their environment and able to tolerate drought and diseases to mention the few.[26] However in other animal production systems these breeds are discouraged and more productive exotic ones are favored.[25] This situation could not be left unaddressed due to the changes in market preferences and climate all over the world,[27] which could lead to changes in livestock diseases occurrence and decline forage quality and availability. Hence pastoralists are conserving farm animal genetic through community based conservation (CBC) of local livestock breeds.[26] Generally conserving farm animal genetic resources under pastoralism is advantageous in terms of reliability and associated cost.[28]

Tragedy of the commons

Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons (1968) described how common property resources, such as the land shared by pastoralists, eventually become overused and ruined.[29] According to Hardin's paper, the pastoralist land use strategy suffered criticisms of being unstable and a cause of environmental degradation.[30]

Niger nomads flee drought 16 aug 2005
Tuareg pastoralists and their herds flee south into Nigeria from Niger during the 2005–06 Niger food crisis

However, one of Hardin's conditions for a "tragedy of the commons" is that people can't communicate with each other or make agreements and contracts. Many scholars have pointed out that this is ridiculous, and yet it is applied in development projects around the globe, motivating the destruction of community and other governance systems that have managed sustainable pastoral systems for thousands of years. The outcomes have often been disastrous. [31]

Pastoralists in the Sahel zone in Africa were held responsible for the depletion of resources.[30] The depletion of resources was actually triggered by a prior interference and punitive climate conditions.[32] Hardin's paper suggests a solution to the problems, offering a coherent basis for privatization of land, which stimulates the transfer of land from tribal peoples to the state or to individuals.[29] The privatized programs impact the livelihood of the pastoralist societies while weakening the environment.[21] . Settlement programs often serve the needs of the state in reducing the autonomy and livelihoods of pastoral people.

However, recently it has been shown that pastoralism supports human existence in harsh environments and often represents a sustainable approach to land use.[21]

See also


  1. ^ Moran, Emilio F. (2006). People and Nature: An Introduction to Human Ecological Relations. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-4051-0572-9.
  2. ^ Netting, Robert (1981). Balancing on an Alp: Ecological Change and Continuity in a Swiss Mountain Community. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press. p. 320. ISBN 9780521281973.
  3. ^ Plieninger, Tobias; Huntsinger, Lynn (2018). "Complex Rangeland Systems: Integrated Social-Ecological Approaches to Silvopastoralism". Rangeland Ecology and Management. 71 (6): 519–525. doi:10.1016/j.rama.2018.05.002.
  4. ^ Perevolotovsky, A.; Seligman, N.G. (1998). "The role of grazing in Mediterranean rangeland ecosystems -inversion of a paradigm". Bioscience. 48 (12): 1007–1017. doi:10.2307/1313457. JSTOR 1313457.
  5. ^ Huntsinger, Lynn.; Oviedo, Jose (2014). "Ecosystem Services are Social–ecological Services in a Traditional Pastoral System: the Case of California's Mediterranean Rangelands". Rangeland Ecology and Management. 19 (1): 8. doi:10.5751/ES-06143-190108.
  6. ^ a b Lees, Susan H.; Bates, Daniel G. (1974). "The Origins of Specialized Nomadic Pastoralism: A Systemic Model". American Antiquity. 39 (2): 187–193. doi:10.2307/279581. JSTOR 279581.
  7. ^ "Mixed crop-livestock farming".
  8. ^ "Hunting and Gathering Culture". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  9. ^ (Bates, 1998:105)
  10. ^ Moran, Emilio F. (2006-02-03). People and06. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing. p. 123. ISBN 978-1-4051-0572-9.
  11. ^ Ho, Peter (2000). "China's Rangelands under Stress: A Comparative Study of Pasture Commons in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region". Development and Change. 31 (2): 385–412. doi:10.1111/1467-7660.00159. ISSN 1467-7660.
  12. ^ (Bates, 1998:104)
  13. ^ Moran, Emilio F. (2006). People and Nature: An Introduction to Human Ecological Relations. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4051-0572-9.
  14. ^ Pyne, Stephen J. (1997) Vestal Fire: An Environmental History, Told through Fire, of Europe and Europe's Encounter with the World. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-97596-2
  15. ^ Moran, Emilio F. (2006). People and Nature: An Introduction to Human Ecological Relations. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 51–52. ISBN 978-1-4051-0571-2.
  16. ^ Fagan, B. (1999) "Drought Follows the Plow", Chapter 11 of Floods, Famines and Emperors: Basic Books.
  17. ^ Giulio Angioni (1989) I pascoli erranti: Liguori
  18. ^ Ho, Peter (2000). "The Myth of Desertification at China's Northwestern Frontier: The Case of Ningxia Province, 1929-1958". Modern China. 26 (3): 348–395. doi:10.1177/009770040002600304. ISSN 0097-7004.
  19. ^ Ho, Peter (2003). "Mao's War against Nature? The Environmental Impact of the Grain-First Campaign in China". The China Journal. 50 (50): 37–59. doi:10.2307/3182245. ISSN 1324-9347. JSTOR 3182245.
  20. ^ Townsend, Patricia K. (2009). Environmental Anthropology: From Pigs to Policies. United States: Waveland Press. pp. 57–58. ISBN 978-1-57766-581-6.
  21. ^ a b c Wilson, K. B. (1992). "Re-Thinking the Pastoral Ecological Impact in East Africa". Global Ecology and Biogeography Letters. 2 (4): 143–144. doi:10.2307/2997644. JSTOR 2997644.
  22. ^ Roe, Emery; Huntsinger, Lynn; Labnow, Keth (1998). "High reliability versus risk averse pastoralism". Environment and Development. 7 (Dec): 387–399. doi:10.1177/107049659800700404.
  23. ^ McGahey, D.; Davies, J.; Hagelberg, N.; Ouedraogo, R. (2014). Pastoralism and the Green Economy -- a natural nexus?. Nairobi: IUCN and UNEP. pp. x+58. ISBN 978-2-8317-1689-3.
  24. ^ FAO, 2016. The Pastoralist Knowledge Hub. retrieved Nov. 2016
  25. ^ a b Wollny, Clemens B.A (2003). "The need to conserve farm animal genetic resources in Africa: should policy makers be concerned?". Ecological Economics. 45 (3): 341–351. doi:10.1016/s0921-8009(03)00089-2.
  26. ^ a b Zander, K.K.; Drucker, A.G.; Holm-Müller, K. (2009). "Costing the conservation of animal genetic resources: The case of Borana cattle in Ethiopia and Kenya". Journal of Arid Environments. 73 (4–5): 550–556. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2008.11.003.
  27. ^ J., Philipsson; Ally, Okeyo Mwai (2006). "Global perspectives on animal genetic resources for sustainable agriculture and food production in the tropics". hdl:10568/3665.
  28. ^ Paiva, Samuel Rezende; McManus, Concepta M.; Blackburn, Harvey (2016). "Conservation of animal genetic resources – A new tact". Livestock Science. 193: 32–38. doi:10.1016/j.livsci.2016.09.010.
  29. ^ a b Hardin, Garrett (1968). "The Tragedy of the Commons". Science. 162 (3859): 1243–1248. doi:10.1126/science.162.3859.1243. PMID 17756331.
  30. ^ a b Fratkin, Elliot (1997). "Pastoralism: Governance and Development Issues". Annual Review of Anthropology. 26: 235–261. doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.26.1.235.
  31. ^ Li, Wenjun; Huntsinger, Lynn (2011). "China's Grassland Contract Policy and its Impacts on Herder Ability to Benefit in Inner Mongolia: Tragic Feedbacks". Ecology and Society. 16 (2): 8.
  32. ^ Ho, P. (2001). "Rangeland Degradation in North China Revisited? A Preliminary Statistical Analysis to Validate Non-Equilibrium Range Ecology". The Journal of Development Studies. 37 (3): 99–133. doi:10.1080/00220380412331321991. ISSN 0022-0388.


  • Fagan, B. (1999) "Drought Follows the Plow", adapted from Floods, Famines and Emperors: Basic Books.
  • Fratkin, E. (1997) "Pastoralism: Governance & Development Issues". Annual Review of Anthropology, 26: 235–261.
  • Hardin, G. (1968) "The Tragedy of the Commons". Science, 162(3859), 1243–1248.
  • Angioni, Giulio (1989) I pascoli erranti. Antropologia del pastore in Sardegna. Napoli, Liguori. ISBN 9788820718619.
  • Hole, F. (1996). "The context of caprine domestication in the Zagros region'". in The Origins and Spread of Agriculture and Pastoralism in Eurasia. D. R. Harris (ed.). London, University College of London: 263-281.
  • Lees, S & Bates, D. (1974) "The Origins of Specialized Nomadic Pastoralism: A Systematic Model". American Antiquity, 39, 2.
  • Levy, T. E. (1983). "Emergence of specialized pastoralism in the Levant". World Archaeology 15(1): 15-37.
  • Moran, E. (2006). People and Nature: An Introduction to Human Ecological Relations. UK: Blackwell Publishing.
  • Pyne, Stephen J. (1997) Vestal Fire: An Environmental History, Told through Fire, of Europe and Europe's Encounter with the World. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-97596-2.
  • Townsend, P. (2009). Environmental Anthropology: From Pigs to Policies. United States of America: Waveland Press.
  • Wilson, K.B. (1992) "Re-Thinking the Pastoral Ecological Impact in East Africa". Global Ecology and Biogeography Letters, 2(4): 143–144.
  • Toutain B., Marty A., Bourgeot A. Ickowicz A. & Lhoste P (2012). Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa. Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. N°9. January 2013. CSFD/Agropolis International, Montpellier, France. 60 p.
Banna people

Not to be confused with the Fali people, who are sometimes referred to as Bana, or the Bena people.

The Banna people, (also referred to as Bena) are an ethnic group in Ethiopia. They live in an area around Chari Mountain near Kako Town and a savanna area near Dimeka. They speak Hamer-Banna, which they share substantially with the Hamer. According to the 2007 census, they number about 27,000. They engage primarily in agriculture and supplement this by pastoralism, hunting, and gathering. They are mainly Muslim, however, several thousand are Christian, and they have their own king.


Bettong, species of the genus Bettongia, are potoroine marsupials once common in Australia. They are important ecological engineers displaced during the colonisation of the continent, and vulnerable to the threatening factors such as altered fire regimes, land clearing, pastoralism and the introduced predatory species such as the fox and cat.

Cunene Province

Cunene is a province of Angola. It has an area of 87,342 km² and a population of approximately 965,000.

Eurasian nomads

The Eurasian nomads were a large group of nomadic peoples from the Eurasian Steppe, who often appear in history as invaders of Europe, the Middle East and China.

The generic title encompasses the varied ethnic groups who have at times inhabited the steppes of Central Asia, Mongolia, and what is now Russia. They domesticated the horse around 3500 BC, vastly increasing the possibilities of nomadic life, and subsequently their economy and culture emphasised horse breeding, horse riding and nomadic pastoralism; this usually involved trading with settled peoples around the steppe edges. They developed the chariot, wagon, cavalry and horse archery and introduced innovations such as the bridle, bit and stirrup, and the very rapid rate at which innovations crossed the steppelands spread these widely, to be copied by settled peoples bordering the steppes.


The Evens (эвэн; pl. эвэсэл, evesel, in Even and эвены, evëny in Russian; formerly called Lamuts) are a people in Siberia and the Russian Far East. They live in some of the regions of the Magadan Oblast and Kamchatka Krai and northern parts of Sakha east of the Lena River. According to the 2002 census, there were 19,071 Evens in Russia. According to the 2010 census, there were 22,383 Evens in Russia. They speak their own language called Even language, one of the Tungusic languages. The Evens are close to the Evenks by their origins and culture. Officially, they were considered to be of Orthodox faith since the 19th century, but the Evens managed to preserve different forms of non-Christian beliefs, such as shamanism. Traditional Even life is centred upon nomadic pastoralism of domesticated reindeer, supplemented with hunting, fishing and animal-trapping. There were 104 Evens in Ukraine, 19 of whom speaking Even. (Ukr. Cen. 2001)

Gabiley District

Gabiley District (Somali: Degmada Gabiley) is a district in the Woqooyi Galbeed province of Somaliland, with its capital in Gabiley.

Ilchamus people

The Ilchamus (sometimes spelled Camus or Iltiamus, also known as Njemps), are a Maa-speaking people living south and southeast of Lake Baringo, Kenya. They number about 35,000 and are closely related to the Samburu living more to the north-east in the Rift Valley Province They are said to be the smallest ethnic group in Kenya. Their language is one of the Eastern Nilotic Maa languages, closely related to the Samburu language (between 89% and 94% lexical similarity), to the point of it being considered a Samburu dialect by some. Together, Samburu and Ilchamus form the northern division of the Maa languages.In their oral traditions, the Ilchamus economy underwent a succession of elaborations: from foraging and fishing to a sophisticated system of irrigation, and then this was mixed with pastoralism under the influence of Samburu immigrants and neighbouring Maasai. These changes involved a series of embellishments in their culture and social organization. However, this evolving system did not survive the challenges of the capitalist economy in post-colonial Kenya, leading to a more polarized society with diminishing prospects for the majority of Ilchamus.

Modern Hebrew poetry

Modern Hebrew poetry is poetry written in the Hebrew language. It was pioneered by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, and it was developed by the Haskalah movements, that saw poetry as the most quality genre for Hebrew writing. The first Haskalah poet, who heavily influenced the later poets, was Naphtali Hirz Wessely, at the end of the 18th Century, and after him came Shalom HaCohen, Max Letteris, Abraham Dob Bär Lebensohn, his son Micah Joseph, Judah Leib Gordon and others. Haskalah poetry was greatly influenced by the contemporary European poetry, as well as the poetry of the previous ages, especially Biblical poetry and pastoralism. It was mostly a didactic form of poetry, and dealt with the world, the public, and contemporary trends, but not the individual. A secular Galician Jew, Naftali Herz Imber, wrote the lyrics to HaTikva in 1878; this later became the national anthem of Israel.

In the age after the Haskalah, many prominent poets were associated with Hovevei Zion. They included Shaul Tchernihovsky and Haim Nahman Bialik, who would later be considered Israel's national poet. They let go of the genre principles that were widely accepted at their time, and began writing personal poems, about the human being and the soul. In the Zionist national revival period, many arose as the literary heirs to Bialik, and the focal point of Hebrew poetry moved from Europe to the land of Israel. Women became prominent poets (Yokheved Bat Miryam, Esther Raab, Rachel and others). An expressionist genre also developed, as exemplified by Uri Zvi Greenberg and David Fogel.

In the 1930s and 1940s, a neo-symbolic style emerged as well, in Avraham Shlonsky, then Nathan Alterman, and then the Palmach age.

In the 1950s and 1960s, poets who had been raised in Israel or the British Mandate of Palestine were active. The poets Natan Zakh, David Avidan, Yehuda Amihai and Dahlia Ravikovitch rebelled against the style of Shlonsky and Alterman. At the same time a line of religious poets led by such figures as Yosef Zvi Rimon and Zelda emerged. These movements continue to be active to the present day.


A nomad ((in Latin) "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community of people without fixed habitation who regularly move to and from the same areas, including nomadic hunter-gatherers, pastoral nomads (owning livestock), and tinker or trader nomads.

As of 1995, there were an estimated 30–40 million nomads in the world.Nomadic hunting and gathering, following seasonally available wild plants and game, is by far the oldest human subsistence method. Pastoralists raise herds, driving them, or moving with them, as if with an Apuzzo, in patterns that normally avoid depleting pastures beyond their ability to recover.Nomadism is also a lifestyle adapted to infertile regions such as steppe, tundra, or ice and sand, where mobility is the most efficient strategy for exploiting scarce resources. For example, many groups in the tundra are reindeer herders and are semi-nomadic, following forage for their animals.

Sometimes also described as "nomadic" are the various itinerant populations who move about in densely populated areas living not on natural resources, but by offering services (craft or trade) to the resident population. These groups are known as "peripatetic nomads".

Nomadic pastoralism

Nomadic pastoralism is a form of pastoralism when livestock are herded in order to find fresh pastures on which to graze. Strictly speaking, true nomads follow an irregular pattern of movement, in contrast with transhumance where seasonal pastures are fixed. However this distinction is often not observed and the term nomad used for both—in historical cases the regularity of movements is often unknown in any case. The herded livestock include cattle, yaks, llamas, sheep, goats, reindeer, horses, donkeys or camels, or mixtures of species. Nomadic pastoralism is commonly practised in regions with little arable land, typically in the developing world, especially in the steppe lands north of the agricultural zone of Eurasia. Of the estimated 30–40 million nomadic pastoralists worldwide, most are found in central Asia and the Sahel region of North and West Africa, such as Fulani, and Tauregs, with some also in the Middle East, such as traditionally Bedouins, and in other parts of Africa, such as Nigeria and Somalia. Increasing numbers of stock may lead to overgrazing of the area and desertification if lands are not allowed to fully recover between one grazing period and the next. Increased enclosure and fencing of land has reduced the amount of land available for this practice. There is substantive uncertainty over the extent to which the various causes for degradation affect grassland. Different causes have been identified which include overgrazing, mining, agricultural reclamation, pests and rodents, soil properties, tectonic activity, and climate change. Simultaneously, it is maintained that some, such as overgrazing and overstocking, may be overstated while others, such as climate change, mining and agricultural reclamation, may be under reported. In this context, there is also uncertainty as to the long term effect of human behavior on the grassland as compared to non-biotic factors.

Novotitorovka culture

Novotitorovka culture, 3300–2700 BC, a Bronze Age archaeological culture of the North Caucasus immediately to the north of and largely overlapping portions of the Maykop culture facing the Sea of Azov, running from the Kerch Strait eastwards, almost to the Caspian, roughly coterminous with the modern Krasnodar Krai region of Russia.

It is distinguished by its burials, particularly by the presence of wagons in them and its own distinct pottery, as well as a richer collection of metal objects than those found in adjacent cultures, as is to be expected considering its relationship to the Maykop culture.

It is grouped with the larger Indo-European Yamna culture complex, and in common with it, the economy was semi-nomadic pastoralism mixed with some agriculture.


The Outback is the vast, remote interior of Australia. "The Outback" is more remote than those areas named "the bush" which is any location outside the main urban areas.

While often envisaged as being arid, the Outback regions extend from the northern to southern Australian coastlines, and encompass a number of climatic zones; including tropical and monsoonal climates in northern areas, arid areas in the "red centre" and semi-arid and temperate climates in southerly regions.Geographically, the Outback is unified by a combination of factors, most notably a low human population density, a largely intact natural environment and, in many places, low-intensity land uses such as pastoralism (livestock grazing) in which production is reliant on the natural environment.Culturally, the Outback is deeply ingrained in Australian heritage, history and folklore. In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, the Queensland Outback was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as a "natural attraction".

Pastoral farming

Pastoral farming (also known in some regions as ranching, livestock farming or grazing) is a form of agriculture aimed at producing livestock, rather than growing crops. Examples include dairy farming, raising beef cattle, and raising sheep for wool. In contrast, arable farming concentrates on crops rather than livestock. Finally, Mixed farming incorporates livestock and crops on a single farm. Some mixed farmers grow crops purely as fodder for their livestock; some crop farmers grow fodder and sell it to pastoral farmers.

Pastoral farmers are also known as graziers (in Australia) and in some cases pastoralists (in a use of the term different from traditional nomadic livestock cultures). Pastoral farming is a non-nomadic form of pastoralism in which the livestock farmer has some form of ownership of the land used, giving the farmer more economic incentive to improve the land. Unlike other pastoral systems, pastoral farmers are sedentary and do not change locations in search for fresh resources. Rather, pastoral farmers adjust their pastures to fit the needs of their animals. Improvements include drainage (in wet regions), stock tanks (in dry regions), irrigation and sowing clover.

Pastoral farming is common in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, and the Western United States and Canada, among other places.


Samaale (var. Samali or Samale Somali: Samaale, Beesha Samaale), is the oldest common forefather of several major Somali clans cooperation and their respective sub-clans. It constitutes the largest and most widespread Somali lineage. Two of the constituent Samaale sub-clans, the Dir and Hawiye, are regarded as major clans today.

Subsistence economy

A subsistence economy is a non-monetary economy which relies on natural resources to provide for basic needs, through hunting, gathering, and subsistence agriculture. "Subsistence" means supporting oneself at a minimum level; in a subsistence economy, economic surplus is minimal and only used to trade for basic goods, and there is no industrialization.In the history of the world, before the first cities, all humans lived in a subsistence economy. As urbanization, civilization, and division of labor spread, various societies moved to other economic systems at various times. Some remain relatively unchanged, ranging from uncontacted peoples, to poor areas of developing countries, to some cultures that choose to retain a traditional economy.

Capital can be generally defined as assets invested with the expectation that their value will increase, usually because there is the expectation of profit, rent, interest, royalties, capital gain or some other kind of return. However, this type of economy cannot usually become wealthy by virtue of the system, and instead requires further investments to stimulate economic growth. In other words, a subsistence economy only possesses enough goods to be used by a particular nation to maintain its existence and provides little to no surplus for other investments.

Subsistence pattern

A Subsistence Pattern – alternatively known as a subsistence strategy – is the means by which a society satisfies its basic needs for survival. This encompasses the attainment of nutrition, water, and shelter. The five broad categories of subsistence patterns are foraging, horticulture, pastoralism, agriculture, and industrial food production.


Transhumance is a type of pastoralism or nomadism, a seasonal movement of livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions (vertical transhumance), it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and lower valleys in winter. Herders have a permanent home, typically in valleys. Generally only the herds travel, with a certain number of people necessary to tend them, while the main population stays at the base. In contrast, horizontal transhumance is more susceptible to being disrupted by climatic, economic, or political change.Traditional or fixed transhumance has occurred throughout the inhabited world, particularly Europe and western Asia. It is often important to pastoralist societies, as the dairy products of transhumance flocks and herds (milk, butter, yogurt and cheese) may form much of the diet of such populations. In many languages there are words for the higher summer pastures, and frequently these words have been used as place names: e.g. Hafod in Wales and Shieling in Scotland.

Western Saharan cuisine

Western Saharan cuisine comprises the cuisine of Western Sahara, a disputed territory in the Maghreb region of North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the extreme northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The Western Saharan cuisine has several influences, as the population of that area (Sahrawi), in their most part are of Arabic and Berber origin. The Saharawi cuisine is also influenced by Spanish cuisine owing to Spanish colonisation.

Food is primarily into Western Sahara, as minimal rainfall in the territory inhibits agricultural production. Indigenous sources of food include those derived from fishing and nomadic pastoralism. The labor and business in these indigenous provisions of foods are also a primary contributor of income for the territory's population, and are among the primary contributors to the economy of Western Sahara.A major staple food is the couscous that often accompanies one way or another all the food dishes. The influences of southern cuisine makes them consume peanut as an accompaniment of some dishes.

For meat, the Sahrawis favour the camel and goat; pork is not eaten, since it is not halal. Lamb also occupies a prominent place. Some tribes are famous for growing wheat, barley and cereals in general.

Some fruits and vegetables are grown in oases that are scattered within the territory.As of 2012, all economic activity and trade in Western Sahara is governed by the government of Morocco.


Yaylag (Russian: яйлаг) is a Turkic term, meaning summer highland pasture (from yay, meaning summer, and -lagh or -lağ, a deverbal plus denominal suffix in Turkic languages). The converse term is gishlag (also spelled as kışlak or qhishloq), a winter pasture (from kış, qish or gish, a Turkic word for winter). The latter one gave rise to the term kishlak for rural settlements in Central Asia. Transcriptions of the term include yaylak (Turkish: yaylak), yaylaq (Azerbaijani: yaylaq), یایلاق (South Azerbaijani: یایلاق), ailoq, jaylaw (Kazakh: жайлау), or jayloo (Kyrgyz: жайлоо), and yeilâq (Persian).

An authority on the subject of nomadism, Anatoly Khazanov, notes: "The specific significance of pastoralism is usually at its most apparent in the specialized mountain variant of herdsman husbandry; in Soviet anthropology this is often referred to as yaylag pastoralism..." In Western anthropology yaylag pastoralism more or less corresponds to the notion of transhumance (Transhumanz)According to Karl H. Menges, who studied and witnessed the nomadic lifestyle of the Turkic Qashqai tribe in Iran, "[t]ribes in their summer encampments (jajłaγ), and not on the move (köç). They live, during the months May-August, in the region as designated above, and begin to move southward to the winter encampments (qyšłaγ) about the end of August."There are different variants of yaylag pastoralism, some of which are similar to semi-nomadic pastoralism, although most are similar to herdsman husbandry (such as in mountainous areas of Europe and the Caucasus). However, in the Eurasian steppes, the Middle East and North Africa yaylag pastoralism often co-exists with semi-nomadic pastoralism and pastoral nomadism.In the description of another Western specialist on nomads and pastoralism, Khazanov's classification system is the most modern approach, "classifying nomadic forms according to a society’s extent of migratory mobility, the primacy of specific animals in producing their subsistence products, and the level of symbiosis between nomadic and settled agricultural societies. He categorizes pastoralists into five types, ranging from “pure pastoral nomadism” to “semi-nomadic pastoralism,” “semi-sedentary pastoralism,” and finally to “distant-pastures husbandry” and “seasonal transhumance” (Khazanov’s yaylag – Khazanov 1994, 19-23)".Yaylag pastoralism enables people occupied with agriculture in specific ecological zones to use other areas as seasonal pastures when they are at their most productive. During one part of the year the livestock is kept in mountain pastures and during the other parts is driven to lower zones.Another explanation of yaylag's importance and position in today's agriculture is given by recent research: "Because it is semiarid, large parts of the Middle East traditionally have been given over to a mode of livelihood that combines the extensive cultivation of crops such as wheat and barley with sheep and goat herding. Herds are usually moved in fixed patterns between adjacent ecological zones in the course of a year and graze on the stubble of cultivated fields after harvest. Such movement is called transhumant pastoralism or seminomadism, and it differs from the movement of nomadic groups who follow their herds (pastoral nomadism). Seminomadic pastoralists and pastoral nomads form a significant but declining minority in such countries as Saudi Arabia (probably less than 3 percent), Iran (4 percent), and Afghanistan (no more than 10 percent). They comprise less than 2 percent of the population in the countries of North Africa, with the exception of Libya and Mauritania." Variation in mobile pastoral systems is commonly linked to both the ecology of herding and socio-political negotiations. These factors can contribute to significant changes in the way pastoralists manage territory and lay claim on locations in their landscape (e.g., pastures and campgrounds). In light of the environmental variability in pasture quality from year to year, however, ownership and control of particular locations and resources such as summer and winter pastures (ailoq and qhishloq) and seasonal cisterns (yekhdon) brought about various forms of social interactions, such as trading of resources, political alliances, and land rental, to meet the needs of domesticated herds.Another source provides additional background on yaylag pastoralism in Iran and Caucasus: "The seminomads live in a valley or on a plain in winter and in the highlands during the summer. Their "seasonal home" can mark the beginning of their transition from seminomadic pastoralism to a settled village life. Another example of this way of life from another part of the Northern Tier is the Bakhtiari tribes of Iran. All along the Zagros mountain range from Azerbaijan to the Arabian Sea, pastoral tribes move back and forth with their herds every year between their home in the valley and the one in the foothills."A number of scholars have suggested that yaylag pastoralism has ancient roots in Neolithic Western Asia, alleging that already in the seventh millennium B.C. the pastoralism of the inhabitants of the Zagros Mountains had taken on a yaylag form, and that besides their permanent settlements these people also had seasonal camps in the mountains. Flannery, 1965: 1254-5, Narr, 1959: 85, Masson 1976: 39. Although, "recent research has demonstrated, however, that yaylag pastoralism in the Zagros Mountains can be dated no earlier than the second half of the fourth millennium B.C. (Mortensen, 1975: 23f., 32-3). However, as yet there is insufficient data for this question to be finally resolved."

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.