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Nomadic Herding

  • By: Douglas L. Johnson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Derived from the Latin word for shepherd (pastor) and the Greek word for a wanderer seeking pasture (nomas), pastoral nomadism describes a specialized form of mobile animal husbandry. This production system is extensive, and animals are often moved over a large area in an annual cycle. These nomadic herders exploit areas that are too extreme (too dry, steep, cold) to sustain settled agriculture. Since the middle of the 20th century, changes in pastoral zones have discouraged nomadic herding and resulted in degradation of those areas where significant nomadic pastoral communities continue to exist. This entry first describes the nature of nomadic herding, the structure of herding groups, and the nature of their use of resources. It then describes the impact of modernization on nomadic ...

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