Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 1342–1355 | Cite as

Livelihood diversification as an adaptation approach to change in the pastoral Hindu-Kush Himalayan region

  • Ning WuEmail author
  • Muhammad Ismail
  • Srijana Joshi
  • Shao-liang Yi
  • Ritu Meher Shrestha
  • Abdul Wahid Jasra


Migratory livestock raising has been one of the most important livelihood options for people residing in high mountain areas and has made a significant contribution to the economy of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, both in terms of supporting households and in export earnings. However, in recent decades, changes in the socioeconomic situation and increasing climate variability have led to a need to enhance adaptation by building the resilience of local socio-ecological systems, including economic diversification and sustainable management of natural resources. Based on semi-structured interviews with pastoral communities in six countries within the pastoral HKH region, this paper discusses the situation, trends and driving forces behind the diversification of pastoral livelihood. For internal diversification the study highlights the need for enhancement of pastoral livelihoods through value-adding activities in the pastoral sectors. For external diversification changes on policy changes are needed to support free out-migration, market exploitation, and multiple resource use. Finally the paper highlights the role of education in determining household adaptation strategies in the face of various socio-ecological pressures and recommends integrating innovative and indigenous knowledge to develop appropriate methods for risk management and resource management in the pastoral HKH region.


Adaptive capacity Diversification Livelihoods Pastoralism Himalaya 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ning Wu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Muhammad Ismail
    • 1
  • Srijana Joshi
    • 1
  • Shao-liang Yi
    • 1
  • Ritu Meher Shrestha
    • 1
  • Abdul Wahid Jasra
    • 1
  1. 1.International Centre for Integrated Mountain DevelopmentKathmanduNepal
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Mountain Ecological Restoration and Bioresource Utilization & Ecological Restoration Biodiversity Conservation Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chengdu Institute of BiologyChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina

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