Mapping Cultural Practices and Sciences

This important element of our work is led by Yolda Initiative and ensures that we are making the case for practices in a way that is sound and compelling.

Like for other traditional cultural practices, mobile pastoralism and their communities, and mainstream scientific research can contribute substantial to one another other by generating new co-produced knowledge (there already exist numerous studies acknowledging this beneficial relationship). Considering the role that mobile pastoral communities play by managing 25% of the world’s land area (if not more) simply through how the practice functions and supports landscapes of high ecological value is indispensable for conservation science.

Our Findings Have Enabled Us To:
  • Understand the current extent of the practice in these 5 countries
  • Develop a baseline indicator from which to monitor change, decline, revival – over the coming years
  • Develop a baseline dataset for further studies and finer scale correlations with other variables
  • Demonstrate the significant intersection level between the routes and the areas of high ecological values
  • Demonstrate the spatial connectivity function of the practice between the areas of high ecological values
  • Provide a finer scale dataset/knowledge as a foundation for decision making processes towards developing policies and reinforcement of on-the-ground solutions for halting the loss of the practice and/or conserving areas of high ecological value

One aspect of this collaboration is the production of scientific data needed to increase our understanding of the role this practice plays regarding biodiversity conservation. Although there are already numerous studies on this topic, almost all of them emphasize the need for further scientific research to understand the functions, and to demonstrate with evidence, the importance of mobile pastoralism for conservation and management of landscapes with the species they support.

Scientific research can also contribute to increasing our understanding of the state of play of the practice in local / regional / global levels including their vulnerabilities, threats with their drivers, conflicts and opportunities. This knowledge can contribute to conservation actions that aim to halt the loss of the practice. Similarly, information and communication technologies can be utilized to support these communities by developing innovative solutions to address the difficulties they experience.

On the other hand traditional ecological knowledge with its strategies, which characterize many of the key practices and institutions of these communities, offers many collaboration opportunities by being an important source of information that complements scientific research – resulting in a more holistic understanding. This knowledge, culturally transmitted through generations, ensures a finer spatial and temporal scale, and enriches scientific knowledge sets with new variables. Additionally, the mobility of these communities and their active engagement with different habitats throughout the year makes them vital partners for systematic observations including the monitoring of changes at species and ecosystem levels.

Scientific research has therefore been an important component of our activities, as the mapping study conducted in 5 countries, demonstrates. Through this study we have mapped the migration routes of mobile pastoral communities on GIS, aiming for a high degree of accuracy. This data was subsequently correlated with other biodiversity data sets, such as Protected Areas, Key Biodiversity Areas, Important Bird Areas (and so on), by overlaying the routes (lines) and PAs / KBAs / IBAs etc. (polygons) on GIS to determine the extent of their spatial relationship. The findings of this study have been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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