Against the tide: The future of transhumant herders in the Kailash sacred landscape of Nepal

Binaya Pasakhala, Rucha Ghate, Karma Phuntsho, Popular Gentle, Janita Gurung, Ashok Shrestha, Kamala Gurung, Sunil Thapa

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    Transhumant pastoralism, with its cultural, ecological, and socioeconomic significance, is an important livelihood strategy for mountain communities. Despite its importance, transhumant pastoralism is declining in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. This study examines the drivers of change experienced by transhumant herders in Bajhang, western Nepal, in order to understand future implications for transhumant pastoralism in the region. Here, animals are raised to transport goods to remote villages and to earn supplemental income through the sale of milk, meat, and livestock. The study found that herders are experiencing multiple drivers of changes-including socioeconomic, political, institutional, ecological, and climatic-which have both positive and negative implications for their livelihoods. Herders have responded to these changes by altering their transhumance routes and by reducing the variety and numbers of animals raised. The increasing market demand for meat from freely grazed animals and limited road access are current factors contributing to the perpetuation of transhumant herding in Bajhang. Meanwhile, the institutional mechanisms provisioned in the National Rangeland Policy are neither functional in the study area nor able to resolve issues of the herders. The study recommends developing an incentive-based mechanism involving herders and other stakeholders to address the challenges faced by herders.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)R8-R15
    Number of pages8
    JournalMountain Research and Development
    Issue number4
    Early online date14 Sept 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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