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Diversity of seasonal migration of livestock in the Eastern Alai Valley, Southern Kyrgyzstan

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Abstract

This chapter is devoted to examining the diversity and dynamics of seasonal pastoralism in the Alai Valley, on the northern edge of the Pamir. The seasonal pastoralism practised in the eastern area of the valley is characterised by the coexistence of two forms: (1) vertical (ascending) grazing conducted by outsiders (average vertical movement, V = 1053.8 − 1295.9 m; average horizontal movement, H = 58.2 − 102.1 km) and (2) horizontal grazing conducted by in-valley residents (V = 53.3 − 89.9 m; H = 4.4 − 16.2 km). In addition, vertical (ascending) grazing is practised by in-valley residents (V = 393.3 − 735.0 m; H = 14.1 − 22.5 km) in the western valley. The vertical grazing by outsiders is practised between winter quarters located towards the northern part of the valley and the higher summer rangelands (jailoo) in the eastern valley. Outsiders possessing a use right for the pastureland bring sheep and goats to jailoo in late spring and stay there until late autumn. The high slopes of the mountains near the villages in the valley lack vegetation cover, while the areas on and near the valley bottom are a flat, vast pastureland. This topographic characteristic does not allow the in-valley residents to practise vertical grazing. In the western valley, on the other hand, the in-valley residents can practise vertical grazing, a condition attributed to the great altitudinal differences between summer pastures and the low-altitude villages on the valley bottom. Inequality of pastureland use was identified as a problem in the eastern valley, because the freedom to select pasture for use occurred after independence in 1991. The recently introduced system of local Jailoo committees has proven ineffectual in addressing the serious problem of unequal use.

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Shirasaka, S., Song, F., & Watanabe, T. (2015). Diversity of seasonal migration of livestock in the Eastern Alai Valley, Southern Kyrgyzstan. In Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research (pp. 127–143). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-23198-3_9

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