Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 335588
Title Diversity, risk mediation, and change in a Trans-Himalayan agropastoral system
Author(s) Mishra, C.; Wieren, S.E. van; Prins, H.H.T.
Source Human Ecology 31 (2003)4. - ISSN 0300-7839 - p. 595 - 609.
Department(s) Resource Ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2003
Keyword(s) conservation - management - ladakh
Abstract We describe the diversity and dynamism of social, agricultural, and livestock husbandry practices in a traditional mountain production system in the Indian Trans-Himalaya. These are interpreted in the context of their role in mediating environmental risk. The production system is a little known Buddhist agropastoral system in the high altitude Spiti Valley (agriculture up to 4450 m, livestock grazing 4900 m, total area ca. 12,000 km2) in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh. The local population (ca. 10,000) belongs to one of the three Buddhist sects Gelukpa, Shakyapa, or Ningmapa, is related by blood, and shares a common Tibetan dialect. Family is the basic unit of production, though families are highly dependent upon the community to meet production goals. A village council appointed on rotation and functioning democratically is responsible for village administration, and is the arbiter of all decision-making pertaining to collective work and settling disputes. The council ensures equal access of families to common resources, as well as equitable distribution of responsibilities among them. Systems of primogeniture, celibacy, and polygamy seem to have prevented the fragmentation of land holdings and limited population growth. The diversity of practices in the agropastoral system seems adapted to the risk-prone mountainous environment, the risks being climatic, geological, and those posed by wildlife. The system seems to aim at maximizing production while mediating environmental risk. The production system comes forth as highly dynamic, characterized by continuous innovation and experimentation. Recent changes in the production system are in response to both changes in local conditions as well as increasing integration of the local economy with regional markets, though many aspects of the traditional lifestyle continue to be maintained
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