Satellite Symposium 1: Optimisation

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Variability in climate, landscape productivity and markets and the large spatial scale of most pastoral operations in marginal environments provide challenges and constraints for management that are quite distinct from those in intensively managed grasslands. Dealing with these constraints requires an ecological rather than an agronomic approach. Another feature of pastoralism in marginal environments is the tight coupling between biophysical and socio-economic drivers. As a consequence, constraints to livelihoods and sustainability in marginal environments are more driven by the complexity of interactions between management decisions, climate, environmental response and external drivers than by the direct biological constraints. In this paper we examine some of the main environmental and socio-economic constraints to pastoralism in marginal environments and put forward the view that these constraints are most appropriately managed by considering these pastoral environments as linked socio-ecological systems.

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Constraints to Pastoral Systems in Marginal Environments

Variability in climate, landscape productivity and markets and the large spatial scale of most pastoral operations in marginal environments provide challenges and constraints for management that are quite distinct from those in intensively managed grasslands. Dealing with these constraints requires an ecological rather than an agronomic approach. Another feature of pastoralism in marginal environments is the tight coupling between biophysical and socio-economic drivers. As a consequence, constraints to livelihoods and sustainability in marginal environments are more driven by the complexity of interactions between management decisions, climate, environmental response and external drivers than by the direct biological constraints. In this paper we examine some of the main environmental and socio-economic constraints to pastoralism in marginal environments and put forward the view that these constraints are most appropriately managed by considering these pastoral environments as linked socio-ecological systems.