pastoralist with sheep in a mountainous landscape

How do pastoralists handle uncertainty? Insights from Asia, Europe and Africa

Pastoralists are experts in uncertainty. In a series of 3 blog posts, STEPS director Ian Scoones reports back from visits to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, Isiolo (Northern Kenya) and the Tibetan plateau. The visits were carried out under the PASTRES (Pastoralism, Uncertainty and Resilience) project, which explores what can be learned from the ways…

Petrol station in a dry landscape with goats in foreground

Who benefits and loses from large developments in Eastern Africa’s rangelands?

The past ten years have seen the spread of large-scale investments in infrastructure, resources and land across pastoral areas of eastern Africa. In the past, these areas were insignificant to states in the region and large capital from beyond – at least, compared to the region’s agrarian highlands and Indian Ocean coast. But the recent…

Sheep in a field in Wales, Photo: Andrew Hill

Wilderness for whom? Negotiating the role of livestock in landscapes

Livestock keeping is seen by some as a scourge on ‘natural’ landscapes, creating devastation through grazing and browsing. Reversion to some form of idealised ‘wilderness’ is seen as the solution, with value created through improved aesthetics, tourism and enhanced ecosystem services.This has been a focus by the ‘re-wilding’ debate. This takes on many forms, but…

Herders and their livestock. Photo: Matteo Caravani

The vegan craze: what does it mean for pastoralists?

by Ian Scoones There’s a vegan craze in full swing in Brighton in the UK – and it seems more broadly. There was a vegan festival near my house the other weekend, and vegan graffiti (in washable chalk, I hasten to add) appears frequently in our local park. My daughter became a vegan for a…

PASTRES logo

Three PhD scholarships on pastoralism in Kenya, China and Italy

As part of an Advanced Grant European Research Council award, led by Professor Ian Scoones, we are recruiting three PhD students to start in February 2019 for three years full-time. The students will be working with the PASTRES project in Qinghai-Sichuan, China, Sardinia, Italy or Isiolo, Kenya. Applicants must come from these regions, be deeply…

Why killing reindeer is poor science

The Norwegian state has ordered Sami reindeer owners to reduce the size of their herds to the ‘carrying capacity’ deemed acceptable by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, arguing that high stocking rates detrimentally affect the fragile tundra ecosystem. Herder Jovvset Ánte Sara has been battling the state in the courts, resisting the requirement to reduce his…

The many futures of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa

A 2016 article by Andy Catley, Jeremy Lind and Ian Scoones – The futures of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa: pathways of growth and change – outlines the different pathways of change emerging in the Horn of Africa. It is published in the Revue scientifique et technique (International Office of Epizootics) and is part of a special issue edited by…

Pastoralism is changing in the Horn of Africa

A few weeks back, Ian Scoones, representing the PASTRES project, joined Andy Catley and Peter Little in a webinar organised by the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University, and chaired by Greg Gottlieb, the Center’s director. The one-hour webinar, aimed at policymakers, donors and field practitioners, can be listened to again here. It gets going about 6 minutes…

Herder with a flock of sheep in a dryland landscape, with sun setting behind mountains in the background

Pastoralism, uncertainty, resilience: introducing the PASTRES project

by Ian Scoones and Michele Nori, PASTRES project This month we are launching a new European Research Council funded project, Pastoralism, Uncertainty and Resilience: Global Lessons from the Margins (PASTRES) led by Ian Scoones (director of the STEPS Centre) and Michele Nori at EUI, Florence. We are asking: What lessons can we learn for global…