Sedentarization as Constrained Adaptation: Evidence from Pastoral Regions in Far Northwestern China
- 217 Downloads
This paper examines the effect of a state-led sedentarization scheme on pastoralist adaptation in northern Xinjiang, China. Drawing on surveys and semi-structured interviews with 159 Kazak pastoral households, our results indicate that socio-environmental challenges made extensive herding more tenuous but less profitable. Consequently, certain pastoralists voluntarily adopted sedentarization under state facilitation, although this process was accompanied with declines in household income and asset holdings. Our findings suggest that pastoralists were subject to the combined effects of institutional push and socio-environmental risks, making sedentarization seemingly the only viable choice. We thus argue that pastoral sedentarization in northern Xinjiang represents a constrained adaptation strategy. Future policy should build on pastoralists’ motivation to sedentarize and seek their knowledge to facilitate adaptive development in the pastoral regions.
KeywordsPastoralism Adaptation Sedentarization Kazak China
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This study was funded by the Towards Sustainability Foundation, the Sigma Xi Grant at Cornell University, and the Summer Fellowship from Department of Geography, Environment and Society at the University of Minnesota. We appreciate the Kazak pastoralists who generously shared their knowledge with us. We also thank Christopher Barrett, Kathleen Collins, Vinay Gidwani, Karim-Aly Kassam, Stephen Morreale, Abdi Samatar, Patrick Sullivan, and Xinshi Zhang for their support and advice on our research, as well as the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Agrawal, A. (2010). Local Institutions and Adaptation to Climate Change. Social Dimensions of Climate Change: Equity and Vulnerability in a Warming World. Washington, DC, World Bank, 173–198.Google Scholar
- Banks, T., & Doman, S. (2001). Kazakh nomads, rangeland policy and the environment in Altay: insights from new range ecology. In Second International Convention of Asia Scholars, Free University, Berlin.Google Scholar
- Behnke, R., Scoones, I., & Kerven, C. (1993). Range ecology at disequilibrium: new models of natural variability and pastoral adaptation in African savannas. London: Overseas Development Institute.Google Scholar
- Cerny A. (2010). Going where the Grass is Greener: China Kazaks and the Oralman Immigration Policy in Kazakhstan. Pastoralism 1(2): 218–247.Google Scholar
- Chilonda P., and Otte J. (2006). Indicators to Monitor Trends in Livestock Production at National, Regional and International Levels. Livestock Research for Rural Development 18(8): 117–117.Google Scholar
- Liao C., Ruelle M.L., and Kassam K.-A.S. (2016). Indigenous Ecological Knowledge as the Basis for Adaptive Environmental Management: Evidence from Pastoralist Communities in the Horn of Africa. Journal of Environmental Management 182: 70–79.Google Scholar
- Little, P. D., & McPeak, J. G. (2014). Resilience and Pastoralism in Africa South of the Sahara. Resilience for Food And Nutrition Security, 75–82.Google Scholar
- Longworth, J. W., & Williamson, G. J. (1993). China’s pastoral region : sheep and wool, minority nationalities, rangeland degradation and sustainable development. Oxon, UK; Canberra, ACT, Australia: CAB International; ACIAR, The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.Google Scholar
- Mi’erzhahan J. (2004). Kazak People, Minzu Press, Beijing.Google Scholar
- National Development and Reform Commission. (2007). China’s National Climate Change Programme. National Development and Reform Commission Beijing.Google Scholar
- R Development Core Team. (2014). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.Google Scholar
- Scoones I. (1994). Living with Uncertainty : New Directions in Pastoral Development in Africa, Intermediate Technology Publications, London.Google Scholar
- Wario H.T., Roba H.G., and Kaufmann B. (2015). Shaping the Herders’ “Mental Maps”: Participatory Mapping with Pastoralists’ to Understand Their Grazing Area Differentiation and Characterization. Environmental Management 56(3): 721–737.Google Scholar
- Xinhua. (2007a). China’s Economic and Social Development Plan. China Daily. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-03/19/content_830762_2.htm
- Xinhua. (2007b). Hu Jintao proposes Scientific Outlook on Development for tackling China’s immediate woes, challenges. http://nxinhuanet.com/english/2007-10/15/content_6883135.htm