Sutton & Anderson Chapter 8 March 30, 2005 Pastoralism is the form of agriculture where the domestication and use of animals are used for the primary means of food production. There is a relationship among the animals and humans. The humans give the animals' protection and guaranteed reproduction. Animals give humans food and other products. Most pastoral groups are loose tribes moving around, yet the household is the primary organization. Three types of pastoralism exist, (1) nomadic (groups are very mobile and rely heavily on their animals), (2) semi-nomadic (groups are less mobile and animal products are supplemented by horticulture), and (3) semi-sedentary, (groups that are not very mobile and horticulture is a major aspect to the way of life).
Herdsman husbandry and sedentary animal husbandry are components of larger agricultural systems. Herbivores are used in pastoralism; animals include reindeer, horses, sheep, camels, cattle, and others. The origin of pastoralism is unknown; however it is believed that it arose from an agricultural system. The animals live in pastures and feed there. Grazers primarily eat grasses and low-growing plants.
Browsers eat primarily foliage from bushes and trees. This makes it possible to have different species on the same pasture (habitat) while occupying different niches. Careful management of the pastures is essential for the group's survival. Animal products include meat, blood, milk, hides, hair, wool, and dung. Most groups supplement these products with horticulture, trade and wild resources. Unmanaged or poorly managed use of pastures can led to damage of ecosystems.
The current practice of changing forest into pasture lands is causing considerable damage. The Maasai of East Africa provide us with an example of properly managed pastures. The Maasai burn brush to create pasture land, when the herd must be moved so that the pasture can regain its strength, other animals such as deer and small wild pigs enter the fallow fields, thus creating another resource of food for them. The governments of Kenya and Tanzania took about 75% of the Maasai lands to use for tourism.
The land soon began to grow over and the brush took over. The large game that the government was counting on to create revenue from the tourists began to leave to find more suitable land. The governments are slowly giving the Maasai people their land back in hope that their properly managed pastures can bring the large game back. The Navajo of the American Southwest are an example of semi sedentary pastoralists. They make homesteads for their families. Their main herd is sheep.
The sheep are kept around the homestead during the winter to make it easier to look after them. In the summer they are herded to farther away pastures. They practice horticulture around their homes to supplement the animal products. If necessary the homestead can be moved but it is usually left where it is and the herd is moved around by the young men. Questions: 1.
If you keep different species in the same pasture wouldn't you end up running into problems such as fighting or is it because they occupy different niches that competition and fighting are avoided? 2. Are environmental limits the only factor in whether or not a group of peoples decides on a type of pastoralism? 3. Would it be possible to have two animals who eat the same food to occupy the same pasture?