Mobile Pastoralism and Protected Areas: Conflict, Collaboration and Connectivity
By Roads Less Travelled
For thousands of years, mobile pastoralist communities have been moving through the rangelands with their herds in search of forage and water, making the most of scarce resources. This traditional form of livestock husbandry has persisted over the centuries because of its harmonious interaction with nature. Yet ironically the advent of protected areas has become a real threat to the lives and livelihoods of mobile pastoralists in many parts of the world. In this paper, the authors consider the many benefits of mobile pastoralism, in particular those related to movement.
Pastoral migration routes move through and around protected areas, forging ecological corridors between different habitats, avoiding isolation and fragmentation. As a case in point, the authors look at the network of Spanish drove roads, with new data on the overlap between these routes and protected areas and other areas of high biodiversity. This paper raises some serious questions for reflection by the protected area community vis-à-vis the practice of mobile pastoralism. From basic human rights issues to acknowledging the services pastoralists provide, readers are invited to reflect on an issue that is not clear-cut and requires much more dialogue, as well as concerted action to mitigate conflict and promote collaboration.