Pastoralism and the Green Economy – a natural nexus?

As economies and populations grow, so does the demand for animal products, including milk, meat and fibre. Pastoralism can play a significant role in fulfilling this demand while continuing to protect rangeland biodiversity and ecosystem services. The study Pastoralism and the Green Economy – a natural nexus? focuses on pastoralism’s current and future potential for securing sustainable management and green-economy outcomes from the world’s rangelands. The book explores:

  • the contribution of pastoralism to maintaining natural capital
  • pastoralism’s resource efficiency and sustainable production in highly variable dryland environments
  • the conditions that enable pastoralism to deliver on its green-economy potential.

It synthesises existing evidence and uses practical examples from mobile pastoralism in Europe, Latin America, North America, Central, Western and Southern Asia, Australia and Africa to demonstrate both the system’s inherent characteristics for adaptive sustainability and some key opportunities and challenges for promoting development in rangelands. Finally, the study identifies the key enabling conditions required for pastoralism to deliver on its potential role in a Green Economy.

The “Green Economy” is a vision of the future wherein material wealth is not generated at the cost of increasing environmental risk, ecological scarcity or social disparity. Considerations over “green” development for the global livestock sector are at an all-time high and, while countries grapple with what this entails, many of them possess large areas of rangelands that are managed through pastoralism and which already make a major contribution to environmental sustainability and the economy.

This report was financed by UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and is part of the efforts of UNEP, IUCN and WISP (World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism) to provide the social, economic and environmental arguments for increased recognition of sustainable pastoralism as a viable land management option for the world’s rangelands.

Authors: McGahey D, Davies J, Hagelberg N & Ouedraogo R. 2014. Nairobi: IUCN / UNEP. 72pp.

Posted on 3 March 2015 in Pastoralism & Mobility, Pastoralism & Natural Resources