Keeping all the Parts: Adaptation Amidst Dramatic Change in the Pamir Mountains

  • Karim-Aly Kassam
Part of the Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation book series (STHE, volume 7)


Adaptation is fundamentally linked to indigenous cultural values, ecological niche, and local wisdom. It is effectively studied in action and not abstraction and is present in communities undergoing the stress of change. Communities in the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan and Tajikistan have been subjected to dramatic change. Within a century, only two-to-three generations, the peoples of this strategically located Mountainous region of Central Asia have directly experienced colonization, the Cold War, penetration of the market system, natural resource extraction, threat of famine, and civil war. Presently, they are at the vanguard of climatic change and a global war localized in Afghanistan but may potentially spread elsewhere. Survival and continued existence under these conditions speaks to the local communities’ capacity to adapt, demonstrates cultural and ecological pluralism, and highlights the importance of “keeping all the parts.”


Adaptive Capacity Cultural Diversity Ecological Zone Food Sovereignty Summer Pasture 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural Resources and the American Indian ProgramCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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