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  The breeding and rearing of certain domesticated herbivorous animals and ruminants as a primary means to provide food, clothing and shelter. Pastoral production involves an interaction between land, water and mineral resources, livestock and labour. Livestock as a capital good serves as a technology to transform otherwise unpalatable cellulose into consumable products. Pastoralism embraces both commercial livestock rearing (e.g. commercial stock rearing on the Argentinian pampas) and \'traditional\' pastoral nomadism which combines livestock husbandry and spatial mobility for the largely subsistence production of animal products. The variety of animals raised by pastoral nomads is quite small (there are six widely-distributed species: sheep, goats, camels, cattle, horses, donkeys) and is associated with seven distinctive zones (high latitude sub-Arctic, Eurasian steppe, montane Southwest Asia, Saharan and Arabian deserts, sub-Saharan savannas, the Andes, and Asian high altitude plateaux). Pastoral nomadism is internally differentiated with respect to its dependence on agricultural production, forms of pasture ecology, and the animals herded. A common pastoral taxonomy distinguishes between flat/mountainous land, large/small animals and the relationship to agriculture (i.e. pure pastoralists versus semi-pastoralists). Like peasants, pastoralists exhibit significant differences in terms of household structure, property rights, sexual divisions of labour, patterns of consumption and exchange and labour processes (Galanty and Johnson, 1990). Pastoralism is, however, a distinctive form of ecological and cultural adaptation to specific sorts of ecosystems (see cultural ecology) in which humans and animals live in a symbiotic community typified by a fierce independence and self-determination. (MW)

Reference Galanty, J. and Johnson, D. 1990: The world of pastoralism: herding systems in comparative perspective. New York: Guilford.



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