A unique pastoral community uses the arid rangelands of eastern Ladakh, known as Changthang, northern India. The nomadic people rear a variety of livestock such as sheep, goats, horses and yaks, which provide them with various goods and services. Nevertheless, the needs and aspirations of the people are changing. There is a trend towards increasing the livestock population, especially of a breed of goat that produces one of the finest natural fibres: Pashmina, which is the mainstay of their economy. This increase in goat population, however, is jeopardising the long-term survival of the wild herbivores in the region, and as such is not sustainable. We present information on the current trends in socio-economy, Pashmina production, wildlife conservation, and the conflicts of interest between wildlife and nomads in the region. On the basis of this information, we make suggestions for the conservation of natural resources in the region. We recommend preserving the historical societal norms and notions of the people, and capitalising on them to manage natural resources. We also recommend joint management of natural resources by the local people, State and non-governmental organisations. Our findings provide a platform on which a grazing policy for the region may be formulated.
- gazelle procapra-picticaudata
- snow leopard
- traditional pastoralism
- eastern ladakh
- tibetan argali