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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 569514
Title Herders and livestock professionals' experiences and perceptions on developments and challenges in yak farming in Bhutan
Author(s) Dorji, Nedup; Derks, Marjolein; Dorji, Phub; Groot Koerkamp, Peter W.G.; Bokkers, Eddie A.M.
Source Animal Production Science (2020). - ISSN 1836-0939
DOI https://doi.org/10.1071/AN19090
Department(s) Farm Technology
WIAS
WIMEK
PE&RC
Animal Production Systems
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2020
Keyword(s) policy - welfare
Abstract

Context: The yak-based transhumant system is influenced by socioeconomic developments, regulations and environmental changes. Little is known about the impact of this on yak farming practices among different regions in Bhutan. Aim and methods: The experienced changes in yak farming practices over the years and perceptions on developments were assessed through interviews with yak herders in three regions (west, n = 22; central, n = 20; east, n = 25) and with livestock extensionists (n = 28). Key results: At present, forage shortage in the rangeland, yak mortality mainly due to (endangered) wild predators and, to a lesser extent, labour availability are the main concerns in all yak farming regions. These concerns have increased due to socioeconomic developments (e.g. education and other sources of income) and strong conservation policy, which affects the living environment of the yaks. Overall, the market to sell yak products and livestock extension services has improved, but forage shortage and yak mortality has increased over the years. However, some factors causing forage shortage are more specific to certain regions, e.g. competition with the horse population (west), cattle and cattle-yak hybrids (east), cordyceps collection (west and central) and prohibited burning of rangelands (central and east). Family labour available to herd yaks has slightly decreased, and the number of young family members (successors) to take over yak farming has decreased over the years. Conclusions: On the basis of the experiences and perceptions of yak herders and extensionists, we conclude that increasing forage shortage in the rangelands, decreasing numbers of successors, and increasing yak predation by wild animals are the major threats to yak farming. Implications: This study demonstrates that yak farming in Bhutan experiences an increasing pressure to sustain. Differences between regions make clear that a one blanket-policy will not be effective to preserve yak farming for the future.

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