Walk with Shepherds

Looks like there is a new initiative to help collect data on pastoralists.

Follow the Sheep is letting people sign up to walk with  shepherds for a few days. People interested in walking with the sheep to collect track information using GPS and other information related to the land, the sheep and the shepherds such as the CPRs, the water bodies, the pastures, the farms and roads, the forests and the green, and the lives of the communities.

 

I know nothing about where this came from but it does sound intriguing. If I understand correctly, you put a marker on a map, identifying your location. I did that this morning and am waiting to find out what happens next.

Here is their blurb on the value of pastoralism for biodiversity.

A common perception amongst many is the negative contribution of pastoralists and pastoralism to the environment and biodiversity. Contrary to this perception, pastoralism actually benefits biodiversity in a number of ways. To begin with, pastoralists maintain animals of different breeds which helps maintain livestock biodiversity. In fact a significant part of the diversity of livestock breeds the world over is maintained by pastoral communities. Pastoralism helps keep floral biodiversity alive through the dispersal of seeds. Grazing by animals also helps biodiversity as certain dominant species are kept in check. The traditional knowledge of pastoralists related to forage, fodder and medicinal plants is encyclopedic and is invaluable for future generations. Many predatory wild animals feed on domesticated stock maintained by pastoralists for their nourishment. Thus, indirectly pastoralists and pastoralism helps certain ecosystems such as grasslands flourish. This contribution is not visible or is not recognized by different agencies especially the forest departments and animal husbandry departments and there is considerable pressure put on pastoralists to sedentarize and give up existing systems of production. Instead forces of development promote industrial and contract farming, both of which threaten livestock species biodiversity. Bans on grazing will also put increased pressure on agricultural land to be diverted to fodder crops and threaten both agricultural diversity and food availability. The pastoral economy although poorly recognized is important for bringing food to the table in many marginal areas of the world. If pastoral systems were to stop it would actually pose an enormous threat to biodiversity.

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