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  The practice by some pastoralists and pastoral farmers of moving herds of animals seasonally or periodically to exploit locally specific ecosystems, typically seasonal pastures (see mixed farming; pastoralism). Transhumance was first used in a precise sense to describe the spatially limited patterns of animal movement in Alpine Europe among people who were primarily agrarian and who identified with a permanent settlement rather than a pastoral encampment (Johnson, 1969). Farmers who normally occupy permanent dwellings in one ecotype typically move animals, and often a proportion of household members, vertically from mountain to valley pastures between summer and winter months. Pastoral nomads who are periodically sedentary (for example, around dry season water holes) but who rely primarily upon animal products, may also engage in seasonal patterns of movements of animals and people, typically a horizontal search for pasture associated with spatial variation in monsoonal rainfall (cf. nomadism). (MW)

Reference Johnson, D. 1969: The nature of nomadism: a comparative study of pastoral migrations in Southeast Asia and Northern Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago, Department of Geography Research Paper #118.



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