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Rangelands Initiative

Fading fast all over the world, the (most sustainable) livelihoods and lifestyles of nomadic pastoralists only can sustain/conserve the Rangeland Commons, which are most productive ecosystems on planet (even more productive than forests). Rarely any study has been undertaken to prove that the nomadic pastoralist way (on rangelands) of livestock production needs almost no financial investment, but it produces most nutritive foods as well as other products. Unfortunately, such products have not been desirably priced in modern markets, and the nomadic grazing (which is helpful to biodiversity, not detrimental) is perceived by ecologists and policy makers as threat to conservation. The deep ecologists and green missionaries had/have advocated against the grazing in natural ecosystems, especially in the protected areas. Hence, the pastoralists as well as the rangeland ecosystems have suffered as a result. With the documented scientific evidences, the policy and legal environment against the dying livelihoods and cultures of pastoralist communities needs to be changed and altered. An intensive policy advocacy is required to be launched globally and regionally in support of sustainable pastoralist communities and the rangelands with which they interact.

With the above background, The Grassroots Institute envisages to work two principal domains as explained under:

Analysis of Existing Laws, Policies and Administration Mechanisms
In certain case countries of Central Asia, Southern Asia and Eastern Europe, the agrarian laws and conservation laws & policies are being analysed from the viewpoints of rangeland ecosystems and pastoralism. The relevant loci would be earmarked for flagging the potential changes so as to accommodate the concerns of pastoralist groups and rangeland sustainability. Primarily, the analysis is focused on India, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

The legal analysis of the rangelands and pastures in contexts of pastoralists livelihoods will lead to the emergence of capacity building and education of various stakeholders in the regions. The Grassroots Institute will develop capacity building packages and activities for different stakeholders of Central Asia, Southern Asia and Eastern Europe who are involved in management projects, pastoralists development, livestock improvement and policy making and rules enforcement.

Extended Usage of Technology by Nomadic Pastoralist Groups
Using the technologies to reduce the impacts of climate change has been reported sporadically. Using mobile phones, herders stay in touch with family members and fellow herders in their base and mobile camps and can make herd management and marketing decisions from a distance. Mobile phones are supposed to help pastoralists grasp new market opportunities. Many technologies have proved to have reduced the hardships and uncertainties the nomadic pastoralists face in managing their life and livestock in hostile environments. Such technologies are mobile phones, radio, TV, solar panels, motor vehicles, electronic money transfer, geo-localized app, satellite-based forage maps, digital identification of animals, vegetation maps, and so on. Herders of Europe are reported developing their own GIS-based monitoring system so that they can adjust herd movements to avoid dangers and take advantage of better pastures along migration routes. However, the extractive push of technologies lacks an ecological and anthropological rationale with appropriate scientific grounds. There is huge investment in developing and studying the market-oriented science and technologies, leaving scanty space for dying lifestyles and cultures of the marginalized part of humanity.

The Grassroots Institute strives to document the existing usage of technologies (e.g. cell phones) by nomadic pastoralists in various ways for assessing, adapting, mitigating or surviving the climate change would assist in understanding the technological interface with the pastoralist communities and the ecological edge of the applications. This will also lead to find out the gaps where additional interventions may be invited. Besides, the most important is the task of assessing the potential technologies that can be used by nomadic pastoralists to build their resilience for adapting, mitigating or surviving the climate change. In this assessment, looking into the ecological imperatives and pastoralists’ logic needs to be critical angle.