News from PASTRES: December 2022

PASTRES has had a busy year, with long-term research coming to fruition in a series of PhD theses, the Seeing Pastoralism exhibition continuing its world tour and two linked campaigns on climate and biodiversity, challenging some of the myths that undermine effective action. 

Student success

All six of our PhD students have completed their studies during the year and passed their PhDs. Congratulations to them all, and many thanks to the examiners for taking the time to engage with their fascinating work. Watch this space for links to the final theses. Meanwhile take a look at their profiles and short videos on their work in China, Ethiopia, India, Italy, Kenya and Tunisia.

Livestock, climate and biodiversity

Photo: Linda Pappagallo

To coincide with the major global conferences in Egypt and Canada (COP27 on climate and COP15 on biodiversity), we launched two campaigns highlighting research that challenges some of the myths around the role of livestock in the linked climate and biodiversity crises. So much misunderstanding still persists, yet pastoralists can be effective guardians of the environment. Simplistic, generalised narratives, particularly promoted in the northern media, may act to undermine pastoral livelihoods and landscapes.

Check out our two short videos for quick summaries:

Are livestock always bad for the planet?

Biodiversity and pastoralism


A series of briefings from PASTRES highlight the key issues on climate and biodiversity. They are available in English, French and Spanish.

Livestock and climate change:

Pastoralism and biodiversity:

Related articles:

Global cattle emission concerns sideline the sustainable possibilities of Indian livestock systems
Natasha Maru,

India’s pastoralists, with their deep knowledge of ecosystems, have much to offer conservationists
Natasha Maru,

How pastoral farming can help to avoid a biodiversity crisis
Ian Scoones, The Conversation

We hope our interventions have encouraged a more nuanced debate, bringing some of the evidence from the PASTRES programme (and many others) to the policy arena.

‘Primer’ on pastoralism

PASTRES worked together with the Transnational Institute (TNI) based in Amsterdam to produce a Primer on pastoralism – called Livestock, climate and the politics of resources. It is available in English, French and Spanish (and soon Chinese) and is aimed at giving an accessible overview of pastoral policy issues for activists and practitioners. The Primer was launched in October at a well-attended webinar, where PASTRES PI, Ian Scoones, introduced the Primer and Fernando García-Dory (World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Pastoralists (WAMIP) and Kirtana Chandrasekaran (Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) offered comments and reflections. The event was chaired by Katie Sandwell of TNI.

Read the Primer here:

Watch the launch

Seeing Pastoralism exhibition on tour

Since our last newsletter in July, the exhibition has been shown in Brighton (as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science) and most recently in Brussels, where we exhibited alongside the film festival ‘Perspectives on Pastoralism’, co-hosted by Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium and the Coalition of European Lobbies for Eastern African Pastoralism (CELEP).

The full collection is available online at

Policy dialogues

Following the successful launch of the four regional policy papers on pastoralism, which we featured in the last newsletter, Michele Nori has been invited to give talks on the findings, including in Granada and Cordoba in Spain, Berceto in Italy, Corsica in France, Dakar in Senegal and two at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium – on pastoralism and uncertainty worldwide, and on European Agricultural Policy.

In the European context, debates around the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy continue to rage, with the role of pastoralists living in marginal areas being a crucial theme. The policy papers are also being produced as briefings by the European University Institute (see publications below).

New publications

Greening on paper : does European agricultural policy work for pastoralists?
Briefing by Michele Nori

Managing variability, governing security : how do policies affect livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa drylands?
Briefing by Michele Nori

Instrumentalizing pastoralism? Understanding hybrid tenure and governance in Ilkisongo Maasai land of southern Kenya, Ryan Unks, Political Geography 99, 102712

Redressing policy making in pastoral areas of the Mediterranean region Michele Nori, Journal of Policy & Governance 2, 21

What is Environmental Degradation, What Are Its Causes, and How to Respond?, Ian Scoones, IDS Working Paper 577, Institute of Development Studies

Climate change and agrarian struggles, SM Borras Jr, I Scoones, A Baviskar, M Edelman, NL Peluso, W Wolford, The Journal of Peasant Studies 49 (1), 1-28


Our blog continues to attract many visitors. The top 5 blogs this year were:

Of Deserts and Decolonization: dispelling myths about drylands by Diana K Davis

Loliondo evictions: bad for people, conservation and pastoralism by Lucas Yamat and Pablo Manzano

Drought management in ASAL areas: enhancing resilience or fostering vulnerability? By Tahira Shariff

‘The Last Nomads’: proposed new law will undermine Gypsy and Traveller communities’ nomadic lifestyles in the UK by Dominic Watters

Does European agricultural policy work for pastoralists?

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