Evelyn Mathias, Günther Czerkus and Andreas Schenk.
League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development, 2022.
This detailed study of the role of pastoralism in Germany argues that a small number of mobile pastoralists make an outsized contribution to the landscape and environmental conservation in Germany. Around 1,000 full-time shepherds manage some 70% of the national flock, they include transhumant (mobile) shepherds who move long distances between winter and summer pastures, and location-bound herders, who graze their sheep and goats in a more or less wide radius around the homestead. In addition, mountain farming in the Alps involves cattle, plus some sheep, goats and horses moving between summer mountain pastures and winter quarters in the valleys. These herders provide various environmental services, including maintaining landscapes, protecting land from flooding, erosion and fire, and maintaining grassland that preserves the quality of groundwater. Official statistics do not include pastoralism as a management system, so its value and its contribution is largely unrecognized.
Pastoralism is important for livestock production, the economy and society in all three countries. It is a vital part of environmental management and culture. Yet finding reliable information on pastoralism is very difficult. Official statistics do not recognize it as a category, leaving policymakers and civil society in the dark. If pastoralists are not recognized, their contributions to the environment, economy and society will also be ignored.
The Accounting for Pastoralists series brings together information about pastoralism in each country – a first step in increasing the visibility and recognition of these groups.
Previous briefs cover Argentina, Germany, India, Kenya and Uganda. A summary brief analyses the results of these studies and recommends that FAO take the lead in initiating data collection on pastoralism and livestock production systems in each country.
The International Year of Camelids (IYC) scheduled for 2024 and the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralism (IYRP) in 2026 present unique opportunities for making the voice of camel pastoralists heard and for them to be recognized by policy makers and scientists as the guardians of camel biodiversity and producers of high quality protein in drought stricken areas.
The larger goal of the project, that is supported by Misereor is to influence the trajectory of camel development strategies and research in favour of camel pastoralists, to prevent the camel from ‘being turned into a cow’ by scientists and intensive livestock industries, and for research to become oriented towards solving problems experienced at the grassroots level, rather than being purely academically oriented. The project is specifically aimed at taking advantage of the International Year of Camelids in 2024. By highlighting the ecological advantages of camel pastoralism, it will promote pastoralism in general as well.