Overpopulation and grazing imperils nomadic lifestyle and wildlife in Ladakh
Shreya Dasgupta,, 23 August 2013

CALIFORNIA, USA: In a new study published in the journal Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice, researchers have documented how events such as the immigration of Tibetan refugees, the Indo-China war of 1962, as well as post-war development policies of the government, have brought about major transformations in the traditional patterns of movement and pasture-use of the Rupshu pastoralists, a group of nomads living in the high altitude of Ladakh in northern India, along with an increase in livestock numbers. These changes have, in turn, had an impact on the native wildlife of this region. It was not a planned study,” says Navinder Singh, associate professor in Wildlife Ecology at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and lead author of the study. “I lived with these pastoralists for four summers and two winters. While chatting with them, several issues started to emerge. There were concerns about warming of climate, that there wasn’t much grass left, and that wildlife was over-grazing. We felt that the behavior of these people needed to be known since it eventually affects the wildlife.” Read the article … Read the research article by N. Singh et al “No longer tracking greenery in high altitudes: Pastoral practices of Rupshu nomads and their implications for biodiversity conservation” Pastoralism Research, Policy and Practice 2013, 3:16

The Right to Responsibility: Resisting and Engaging Development, Conservation and the Law in Asia
Holly Jonas and Harry Jonas, Natural Justice, and Suneetha M. Subramanian, UNU-IAS (eds), 2013

This edited volume explores how indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ resilience is often undermined by laws, institutional arrangements and judicial systems. It also examines how particular peoples and communities strive to overcome such structural barriers to self-determination by resisting unwanted developments and engaging proactively with a range of actors at multiple scales. The first part addresses the context and theoretical framework; the second examines specific community experiences, including the transboundary landscape approaches in the Kailash sacred landscape (China, India and Nepal), Sharwa (Sherpa) rights and indigenous conserved areas in Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park (Nepal), livestock keepers’ rights in South Asia, forest rights and conservation in India, and local forest governance, FPIC and REDD+ in Indonesia; and the third includes recommendations and concluding remarks. Comments and feedback are welcome by 1 September 2013 at holly(at) Download the book [pdf] …

Maria and the Ukok Princess: Climate change and the fate of the Altai
Gleb Raygorodetsky, OurWorld 2.0, 21 June 2013

ALTAI, RUSSIAN FEDERATION: In this article, Gleb Raygorodetsky describes his travels in the Altai, its landscape, peoples, history and culture, and challenges related to climate change and the preservation of sacred sites. Read the article …

Climate Conversations – Indigenous knowledge ‘invaluable’ for Andean adaptation
AlertNet, 12 July 2012

LONDON, UK: Indigenous peoples have extensive knowledge of their local environments, gained through hundreds of years of observation and trial and error. They possess a large repository of strategies, skills, and techniques for dealing with climate variability. Three examples from the Peruvian Andes – included in a Brown University paper – illustrate the importance of the role of indigenous knowledge for adaptation. In the southern Andes, an archaeologist named Ann Kendall is working with local communities to recover Inca-era terraces long abandoned as ruins. These terraces can successfully retain water for prolonged periods, allowing farmers to withstand droughts. In nearby Cusco, six mountain communities have banded together to conserve hundreds of native potato varieties. Unlike imported white potatoes, many native varieties are resistant to heat, drought, and crop pests making them a more resilient option in the face of climate impacts. And in Peru’s Piura region, an NGO called Soluciones Prácticas has created an innovative weather prediction system that blends modern meteorology with traditional forecasting methods. By combining local observations of plants and animals with official predictions, Soluciones Prácticas creates seasonal forecasts more accurate than those delivered by modern science alone. Read the article … Download the paper [pdf] …

Climate Variability and Change in the Himalayas: Community perceptions and responses
M. Macchi, A.M. Gurung, B. Hoermann, D. Choudhary, ICIMOD, 2011 | ISBN: 978 92 9115 226 1

This study investigates the effects of climate and socioeconomic change on the livelihoods of mountain people in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, causes of vulnerability, and the ways people cope with and adapt to change, with the overall aim of contributing to enhancing the resilience of vulnerable mountain communities. The case studies cover ICIMOD-conducted community-based vulnerability and adaptive capacity assessments in: Uttarakhand in northwestern India; Nepal; Eastern Bhutan; and North East India. The main aims were to: identify people’s perceptions of climate variability and change; identify underlying causes of vulnerability of mountain communities; assess existing coping and adaptation mechanisms and their sustainability in view of predicted future climate change; and formulate recommendations on how to improve individual and collective assets. An extensive participatory rural appraisal exercise was followed by field studies including focus group discussions at the community level and in-depth interviews at the household level. Special attention was paid to gender considerations and to the role of formal and informal institutions in the adaptation process. The findings demonstrate that climate and socioeconomic change are already affecting the livelihoods of mountain communities, and that the communities have developed a repertoire of response strategies to these changes. These responses, however, may not keep up with the fast pace of change the communities are facing. In order to increase the resilience of mountain communities, appropriate longer-term strategies that build on mountain communities’ traditional knowledge need to be developed, rather than focusing on short-term responses which may reinforce vulnerability in the longer term. Read the report …

Landscape, Process and Power: Re-evaluating Traditional Environmental Knowledge
Serena Heckler (ed.)
Berghahn Books, 2012 | ISBN: 978-0-85745-613-7 (paperback)

Recently made available in paperback edition, this book presents an overview of the study of traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) and the directions in which it has evolved in recent years. The contributors argue that to accurately and appropriately describe TEK, the historical and political forces that have shaped it and people’s day to day engagement with the landscape must be taken into account. TEK thus emerges not as an easily translatable tool for development experts, but as a rich and complex element of contemporary lives that should be defined and managed by indigenous and local peoples themselves. Purchase the book from Berghahn …

International Workshop on Biological and Cultural Diversity for Sustainable Mountain Development
20-24 June 2010 (Yuanyang, Yunnan, China)

The Institute for Sustainability and Peace, United Nations University (UNU-ISP) has circulated the report of this workshop, which was co-organized by UNU-ISP and Nationalities Research Institute, Yunnan University. The workshop aimed to deepen research on biological and cultural diversity-based sustainable development strategies and build on the experiences in mainland Southeast Asiacountries, which are home to hundreds of ethnic communities with in-depth knowledge of, and stewardship skills over, a rich diversity of domesticated, semi-domesticated and wild species. Read the report …

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