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Global Review of the Economics of Pastoralism

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Hatfield, Richard; Davies, Jonathan
Date: 2006
Agency: International Union for Conservation of Nature, Nairobi
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5494
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Subject(s): pastoralism
economic behavior
global commons
land tenure and use
Abstract: "Pastoralism is an adaptation to marginal environments, characterized by climatic uncertainty and low-grade resources. It has considerable economic value and latent potential in the drylands, and is central to the livelihoods and well-being of millions of the world's poor, but the state of knowledge regarding this sector of the economy is weak. Pastoralism is not something to be tolerated until a ‘modern’ alternative can be found to replace it: it is a sophisticated system of production and land management that has itself been modernized in many countries, and is irreplaceable in extensive environments. Yet, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, many policy makers consider pastoralism to be archaic and economically irrational, and in need of modernisation or replacement. Such conclusions are based on a narrow view of what constitutes value in pastoral systems. The policies that emanate from this thinking continue to devalue pastoralism, often at significant cost to national economies and to the natural environment. This review has two broad objectives: reviewing the state of knowledge on pastoral economics around the world and; using a framework for Total Economic Valuation to identify important knowledge gaps. Using the findings, the report discusses trends in pastoral economies and policy options that can support drylands economies more effectively."

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