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Safeguarding a national asset: A review on problems faced by Pashmina farmers in Changthang and their amelioration


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Pashmina is our national asset. It is one of the finest natural fibers of the world found in our country. This valuable commodity belongs to few far flung and remote areas of Changthang region of Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir). It is the main source of livelihood of the people of Changthang rearing Pashmina goats. But because of the prevailing circumstances of fodder scarcity and nutrient deficiency, death due to harsh climate (snowfall) and diseases, lack of knowledge and facilities, overcrowding and poor yield, people especially youth are losing interest in this traditional and valuable venture and are joining other fields like Government jobs, business, tourism etc. To preserve this natural fiber and to save our national asset besides making Pashmina rearing a productive industry, the cause of concern should be addressed with special focus on fodder production and conservation on local basis, health and housing management of Pashmina goats and nutrient supplementation. This will also help in improving socio-economic status of Pashmina farmers of Changthang region. This review is based on our field survey in the Changthang region and the review of the researches of other research scholars related to this area.
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Pashmina is one of the finest natural fibers of world
found in our country (Sheikh et al. 2008, Wani et al. 2009,
Namgial et al. 2010). It is produced by one of the rare
species of goats i.e. Pashmina goats or Changthangi goats
reared by nomadic tribes of Changthang region of Ladakh
(Jammu and Kashmir) called as Changpas (Wani et al. 2004,
2009, Namgial et al. 2010, Singh et al. 2013). Pashmina
production is the main source of livelihood for Changpas
(Bhattacharya et al. 2004, Sheikh et al. 2008, Bhasin 2012).
Based on field observations, these farmers still rear
Pashmina goats in traditional ways as per their nomadic
lifestyle, grazing pastures on regular basis and on a proper
time period so as to avoid over grazing (Sharma 1998,
Bhatnagar and Singh 2011). However because of the poor
quality of pastures and their deterioration due to
overcrowding (Singh 2008), climate change (Miehe and
Miehe 2000, Xu et al. 2009, Naess 2013), growth of wild
shrubs and locust attacks (Wani et al. 2008, Morup 2008,
Bhasin 2012) etc., fodder scarcity and change of lifestyle
is inevitable (Chaudhuri 2000, Singh et al. 2013). As the
fodder production is on small scale and yield is poor so
conservation of fodder is rarely practiced predisposing to
shortage of fodder during natural calamities or harsh
climates like cold winters (Morup 2008, Bhasin 2012).
Indian Journal of Animal Sciences 84 (12): 1251–1255, December 2014/Article
Safeguarding a national asset: A review on problems faced by Pashmina farmers
in Changthang and their amelioration
Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Nyoma, Leh, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir 194 101 India
Received: 7 April 2014; Accepted: 8 September 2014
Pashmina is our national asset. It is one of the finest natural fibers of the world found in our country. This
valuable commodity belongs to few far flung and remote areas of Changthang region of Ladakh (Jammu and
Kashmir). It is the main source of livelihood of the people of Changthang rearing Pashmina goats. But because of
the prevailing circumstances of fodder scarcity and nutrient deficiency, death due to harsh climate (snowfall) and
diseases, lack of knowledge and facilities, overcrowding and poor yield, people especially youth are losing interest
in this traditional and valuable venture and are joining other fields like Government jobs, business, tourism etc. To
preserve this natural fiber and to save our national asset besides making Pashmina rearing a productive industry,
the cause of concern should be addressed with special focus on fodder production and conservation on local basis,
health and housing management of Pashmina goats and nutrient supplementation. This will also help in improving
socio-economic status of Pashmina farmers of Changthang region. This review is based on our field survey in the
Changthang region and the review of the researches of other research scholars related to this area.
Key words: Changthang, Fodder, Goats, Pashmina
Besides poor housing and health management makes
occurrence of disease outbreaks a regular phenomenon
causing a huge loss to poor farmers (Bhasin 2012, Singh et
al. 2013). Keeping in view these problems faced by
Changpas and the Pashmina goats, the strategies should be
devised to ameliorate the sufferings of poor farmers and to
safeguard our national asset - the Pashmina.
Changthang, the eastern region of Ladakh, has 41
villages and hamlets, inhabited by about 8,000 settled and
nomadic pastoralist population (Kitchlu 1977). Its 2 main
blocks are Nyoma and Durbuk having 23 villages out of
which 18 are in Nyoma block and 5 in Durbook.
Changthang comprises high plateaus and rolling hills
(usually>4000 m) interspersed with lake and river basins
that have moist patches of relatively dense graminoid
vegetation. Most of the remaining arid region is dominated
by medium to sparse steppe vegetation. Changthang covers
approximately 20,000 km2. It is a cold desert having arid
climate with severe cold and snow fall during winters
(Bhatnagar et al. 2006).
Review of the data regarding the year-wise variation of
Pashmina goat population, Pashmina production and
income from Pashmina goats is given in Table 1.
Observations of our field level survey conducted during
November-December 2013 in different villages of
Changthang using random sampling technique and taking
village, household and Pashmina goats as units are given
in Table 2. Total population of Pashmina goats is 206,014
1252 YATOO ET AL. [Indian Journal of Animal Sciences 84 (12)
in Changthang, out of which 131,286 are in Nyoma and
46,564 in Durbuk block (SHD 2012). Total Pashmina
production from Changthangi goats is about 50 tonne/ year
(Wani et al. 2009) which is almost 80% of national
production (Sheikh 2003) when the national production is
around 60 tonne accounting for less than 1% of world total
Pashmina production (Sheikh et al. 2008). Yield is about
393.33 g / animal in Changthang region which is higher
than other parts of Ladakh but lower than the production
potential of animals i.e. about 450–500g / animal / year
(Wani et al. 2009). Cost is about 2,200`/ kg (Namgail et al.
2007, SHD 2012). The average net income is about
` 178.95/animal, average net profit is ` 812.28/animal and
average employment generation 189.02 days (Wani et al.
2009). Keeping in view these benefits and the contribution
of Pashmina goats to the livelihood of the Changthang
region, there should have been progress in this farming but
the situation is alarming as the farmers especially youth
are losing interest in it because of fodder scarcity, pasture
shrinkage, poor yield, lack of facilities, lack of rearers/
labour, harsh climate, diseases and mortality (Misra et al.
1998, Ahmed 2005, Goodall 2004).
Common problems faced by Changpas and possible
Common problems faced by Changpas have been
discussed (LAHC 1999, Sharif 2000, Kumar 2000, Sheikh
et al. 2008, Wani et al. 2009, Namgail et al. 2007, 2010)
but the ground situation is alarming as every year thousands
of Pashmina goats are dying because of fodder scarcity,
cold stress and diseases. So the need of hour is to formulate
the strategies which can ameliorate these problems. Main
problems faced by Changpas and the possible solutions are
discussed here.
Shrinkage and deterioration of pastures: In the recent
past pastures have shrunk in Changthang region (Wenche
2004). There are many reasons for this. Poor growth of
pastures is noticed in many areas. Because of the continuous
grazing of pastures for many decades the pasture quality
has degraded (Jina 1986). It has been noticed that the
pastures that used to be lush and green during previous times
have either lost charm or are at the brink of extinction. This
is particularly visible in Korzok, Samad, Kharnak and
Rupshu (Bhasin 2012). Tibetan intrusion due to Sino-India
war in 1962 resulted in overcrowding and hence pasture
shrinkage especially in Skakjung (Morup 2008). Due to the
security restrictions our Pashmina farmers are not allowed
to graze their livestock in some parts whereas Chinese
nomads are grazing those pastures freely with the result
burden on other pastures is increasing on one side and loss
of pastures to Chinese is occurring simultaneously (Patil
2008, Morup 2008). Locust swarm has appeared in some
pastures which deteriorated the grasses preferred by
Pashmina goats. Quality of the Changthang pastures, which
have been a mix of grass and legumes, is declining with the
proliferation of weeds such as artemisia (Morup 2008,
Bhatnagar et al. 2006). Development works for construction
of roads, buildings, camps, fencings etc., have both shrunk
grazing area and damaged the pasture land in the
Prospects of fodder development are there (Mir 1986).To
combat this pasture shrinkage and deterioration, rotational
grazing should be practiced along with mixed population
of livestock. This will allow pasture regeneration and
provide animals grasses of their preference. Illegal intrusion
by refugees should be checked and those already settled
should be provided with pasture lands or develop new
pasture lands for their livestock. Grazing by Chinese nomads
Table 1. Year wise variation of Pashmina goat population, Pashmina production and income
Year Total Pashmina Total Pashmina Income (`) Reference
goats production from Pashmina
(tons) goats
2003–2004 150,000 30 11,600–43,800 (Sheikh 2003, Bhattacharya et al. 2004)
2005–2006 184,824–196,383 40 28,908–80,321 (LAHDC 2006, Morup 2008)
2007–2008 170,590–208,878 30–40 76,170.53–83,603.43 (Morup 2008, Sheikh et al. 2008, Bhasin 2012)
2009–2010 167,363 40–50 41,307–112,732 (Wani et al. 2009)
2011–2012 206,014 50 90,000–110,000 (SHD 2012)
Table 2. Field level observation of some parameters regarding Pashmina
Parameter Average Range (maximum noted)
Total population of Pashmina goats (number) 190,000 180,000–210,000
Herd size per household (number) 150 50–250 (1200)
Pashmina yield (g) per animal 250 200–300 (550)
Fiber diameter (μ)) 12 10–14 (8)
Staple length (cm) 4.5 4–5 (8)
Pashmina production (kg) per household 30 20–40 (300)
Cost per kg (`) 2,500 2,200–2,800 (3,000)
Income from Pashmina (`) per household 117,000 110,000–124,000 (660,000)
should be checked or our own herds should also be allowed
to graze. Safe and biocompatible remedy for locust
infestation should be investigated which will prevent locust
swarms without affecting pasture grasses or natural balance.
Developmental works should be undertaken only in non
Harsh climate and snow: Despite the fact that the
Pashmina yield increases as the environmental temperature
decreases, the harsh climate has caused severe mortality in
Pashmina goats especially neonates. This may be attributed
directly to death due to hypothermia stress (Yatoo et al.
2014) or indirectly due to fodder scarcity during snowfall
which was the main reason of mortality in Pashmina goats
during March 2013 in which almost 30,000 goats died
(Morup 2008, Anonymous 2013, Thakur and Pandit 2013).
Harsh climate freezes the water and snow causing to
shortage of drinking water. Also frozen snow over pastures
renders grasses inaccessible to Pashmina goats. Supply from
outside is hindered due to closure of roads which are usually
not macadamized and become dangerous during winter (Jina
1986, Hussain 2008).
Though the harsh climate and snow fall has there been
for decades and is a natural phenomenon but the preventive
measures and post disaster measures can be undertaken or
kept ready in case of severity so as to minimize loss. Storage
of fodders should be done both by Government. and public
in the local areas which can be used during scarcity.
Development of better roads will enable supplies during
natural calamity/snow fall. Better housing for Pashmina
goats during cold especially neonates which are more
susceptible to hypothermia can prevent mortality.
Change in sheep and goat population: From the data of
livestock population of Sheep Husbandry Department, it is
clear that the sheep population has decreased whereas goat
population has increased except for 2013 data, which may
be due to the mortality of almost 30,000 Pashmina goats
due to snowfall and fodder scarcity (SHD 2012, Morup
2008). This causes two-fold problems one is change in
pasture consumption preference and other is loss of warmth
in winter due to reduction in sheep population which
contributed to reducing cold intensity in animal house
during winters (Animuta et al. 2005). Main reason for this
change is that the Pashmina is more costly than wool and
market demand is more for Pashmina. Hence Pashmina
goats are preferred (Namgail et al. 2010). This can be solved
by balancing the proportion of sheep and goats in flock.
Wildlife: Kyang, argali, antelope and gazelle, also graze
on the pastures used by Pashmina goats (Mishra et al. 2002).
Hence reduction in fodder occurs and Pashmina goats get
insufficient grasses for consumption resulting in
malnutrition and loss of production. Besides wildlife also
damages the cultivated land for crops and fodders
(Bhatnagar et al. 2006, Bhasin 2012). Though fencing is
one of the options but concerns by wildlife department
should also be redressed. Fencing restricts movement of
wildlife hampering natural migration as is evident in Nyoma
and Tsaga area where fencing by forest department and army
camps have hindered wildlife moments. Attacks by wild
and feral dogs and foxes have caused great concerns among
Changpas and loss to livestock. Hence appropriate measures
should be adopted by concerned authorities (like Animal
Husbandry Department and Wild Life Department) to
prevent such attacks.
Tourists: The pack animals for tourists and car rally teams
also destroy the fragile top soil as is evident from the
condition of pastures surrounding Tso-kar (lake) in Samad
area and Ldad in Kharnak, which are turning into deserts
(Bhasin 2012, Singh et al. 2013). Tyre marks can be seen
all over Loma, Rongo and Anley as well (Morup 2008).
Lack of connectivity: Mountainous terrains, poor status
of roads and harsh climate makes many villages of this
region inaccessible. During winters and snowfall the
condition still worsens as roads get blocked (Jina 1986,
Bhasin 2012). Mobile towers are lacking and mobile service
is not present. Though V set telephones are present in some
areas but they are usually out of function. Internet services
are nonexistent in most of the areas. Hence this area totally
lacks connectivity. In the event of natural calamity like
recent snowfall or cloud burst, relief works take weeks to
months to reach this area as happened last year during March
snow fall when acute fodder shortage resulted in heavy
mortality in Pashmina goats. But fodder supplies from
outside could only reach after 2 to 3 weeks that too via
army helicopters when the road was not pliable (Morup
2008, Anonymous 2013). The local KVK at Nyoma can
help in minimizing these losses by developing and supplying
locally produced fodders to poor farmers during natural
calamity besides providing other reliefs.
Fodder scarcity: One of the main problems for the
Changpas in the current scenario is arranging fodder for
the Pashmina goats. As the pastures have shrunk and their
production potential has decreased hence need for fodders
have increased (Bhasin 2012, Singh et al. 2013). Besides
increasing demand for Pashmina has led to increase in
Pashmina goat preference. As the area under fodder
cultivation is meager, soil fertility is poor and yield is low
so cultivation is hardly practiced (Wenche 2004, Namgail
et al. 2007, Yatoo et al. 2011). This ultimately resulted in
fodder shortage especially in winters or during snowfall
when the pastures are covered under snow and external
supply is hampered due to closure of roads by snow or
frozen waters (Jina 1986, Singh et al. 2013). This problem
can be solved by developing locally suitable and adaptable
fodders having better yields, conservation and enrichment
of fodders, providing seeds of fodders, fertilizers to farmers
and encouraging them for fodder cultivation (Fox et al.
2009, Yatoo et al. 2012).
Disease outbreaks: Foot and mouth disease (FMD),
Pestes des petitis ruminants (PPR), contagious caprine
pleuropneumonia (CCPP), goat pox, liver flukes,
ectoparasites and skin affections, diarrhoea and mortality
are some of the major health related problems of Pashmina
goats in Changthang (Bhattacharya et al. 2004, Sheikh et
al. 2008). Poor management, lack of awareness and
1254 YATOO ET AL. [Indian Journal of Animal Sciences 84 (12)
veterinary facilities (medicines/ vaccines) at appropriate
time are main reasons for disease outbreaks (Wani et al.
2009, Bhasin 2012). This can be solved by proper
vaccination, deworming and treating affected animals
properly besides providing awareness about proper health
management of Pashmina goats.
Neonatal mortality: Death of lambs and kids causes a
great loss to farmers. One of the main reasons for this loss
is neonatal diarrhoea, hypothermia and malnutrition (Ganai
and Sheikh 2004, Nair 2010, Morup 2008). Improper
housing, overcrowding, dirtiness and improper feeding
result in neonatal diarrhea and death. Neonatal mortality
ranges between less than 5% in organized farms and as high
as 30% in unorganized farms (Ganai and Sheikh 2004).
Providing medicines and awareness regarding scientific
rearing and housing will help in preventing neonatal
mortality (Jina 1995, Wani et al. 2009).
Lack of knowledge/awareness and facility: Our field
survey revealed that the Changpas lack knowledge and
awareness regarding improved farming techniques,
livestock management, disease prevention and control
strategies. They are not getting vaccines, medicines, seeds
etc., at appropriate time. Providing awareness and training
to farmers will help in encouraging farmers for adopting
modern techniques. Besides information regarding
processing of farm produce and marketing avenues should
be made available to Changpas so as to minimize the
exploitation by middleman. By providing facilities like
seeds, vaccines and medicines at appropriate time will help
in ameliorating most of the problems faced by Changpas.
In this KVK, Nyoma can play an important role. This will
boost production of crops, fodders, livestock and make them
self sufficient.
Non adaptability and non suitability of technologies:
Experimentation under local environmental conditions will
be the ideal way for studying and developing technologies
and products for local needs as they will be more suitable
and adaptable to this region than the ones developed in other
parts of the country which have usually failed under the
harsh climatic conditions of Changthang region. By
establishing Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Nyoma at this
highest mountainous region Indian Council of Agricultural
Research (ICAR) has provided a life saving remedy for the
poor Changpas and their livestock. This will help in
developing fodders and feeding products locally, provide
the much needed timely prophylactic and therapeutic
regimes and management practices to livestock farmers in
addition to the usual KVK mandate.
Future thrust
The world famous Pashmina of Changthang is facing a
danger of extinction as the Changpas are losing interest in
Pashmina goat rearing because of the multifactorial
problems. So to safeguard our national asset developmental
strategies should be designed as per the needs and
requirements of this region which can address the concerns
of Changpas and boost the production of their fields and
livestock. Experimentation and studies under local
environmental conditions like regional stations and KVKs
will be a more feasible option for development of area-
specific technology or products as the technology or
products developed in other parts of the country are usually
not suitable for this region. This will not only help in
increasing fodder production locally, enhancing Pashmina
production but also improve socio-economic status of
Authors are thankful to Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-
Kashmir for their help and support in this study and
acknowledge the hospitality of Changpas.
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Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP) is a serious contagious disease of goats, sheep and wild ruminants caused by Mycoplasma capricolum subspecies capripneumoniae. The disease is known for its high mortality, morbidity and economic losses. A cross-sectional study using multistage cluster sampling technique was conducted in Amhara region from January 2019 to July 2019 to estimate seroprevalence and identify risk factors of CCPP occurrence in the region. A total of 2080 goats from 61 villages and 12 districts of the region were tested for CCPP serostatus using Competitive Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (C-ELISA). A multilevel mixed-effect logistic regression model was used to identify risk factors of CCPP seropositivity at animal and flock-level. The serum sample results revealed an overall animal level seroprevalence of 5.1% (95% CI: 3.8-6.6) and flock-level prevalence of 26.0% (95% CI: 19.7-33.4). At individual animal level, presence of other health problems (OR = 45.9 (95% CI: 25.3-83.4)), age (adult age (OR = 6.2 (95% CI:3.4-11.4)) and old age (OR = 13.1 (95% CI: 6.2-27.8))), and breed type (Afar (OR= 32.3 (95% CI: 2.9-366.1)), Central highland (OR=13.7 (95% CI: 1.3-140.6)), and western highland (OR=16.2 (95% CI: 1.4-185.7))) were identified as risk factors for CCPP seropositivity. In contrast, contact with other flocks (OR = 59.9 (95% CI: 6.1-585.6)), presence of trade route (OR = 3.1 (95% CI: 1.0-9.1)) and presence of sheep (OR = 2.6 (95% CI: 1.2-5.7)) were flock-level risk factors for CCPP seropositivity. Generally, CCPP appears to be common among goats of Amhara region. Goat flocks dominated with older age animals; breeds of Afar, central highland, and western highland; raise with sheep; have contact with other flocks; and kept along trade routes are more at risk for CCPP. Hence, awareness creation to the producers, movement control, and regular prophylactic vaccination should be considered to control CCPP in Amhara region.
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Mitigating livestock predation by carnivores is crucial to ensure carnivore conservation and facilitate human-carnivore coexistence. Mitigation measures proposed by conservation agencies, however, are often technocratic and perceived as being an external imposition on the local community. Herders affected by the depredation may have the knowledge to design locally relevant solutions, but they might lack financial and technical support to implement these effectively. Their inability to act can result in the communities being viewed as antagonistic rather than a part of the solution. We present a case study on co-development of a conservation intervention by a traditional pastoral community together with a conservation NGO, to mitigate livestock depredation inside night-time corrals in Ladakh, India. Between January and June 2020, livestock corrals in Sumdoo TR village were attacked 10 times by carnivores such as snow leopards and wolves, killing over 100 sheep, goat, yak, and horses and causing loses of over 10,400 USD. Local people were agitated, and there were strong demands for capture or removal of the carnivores from the area. We operationalized the PARTNERS (Presence, Aptness, Respect, Transparency, Negotiation, Empathy, Responsiveness, and Strategic Support) principles framework for community-based conservation to help the village effectively implement an intervention based on a novel predator-proof corral design conceptualized by the community. We demonstrate that empowering the community to design and implement a conservation intervention helped them take ownership of the effort, improve trust with conservation agencies, and hence likely to be a long-term solution to conservation conflicts in the region. Our approach of using the PARTNERS principles has relevance for conservation agencies who are trying to implement interventions, particularly those geared toward reducing livestock depredation by carnivores. Our approach further helps communities to view themselves as part of the solution and not the problem.
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The present study is based on both secondary and primary data. While the secondary data on Changthangi goats and other livestock species related to population dynamics, geographical distribution, production system was collected from field functionaries of Sheep Husbandry Department and various livestock census reports of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh, Ladakh, the primary data collected during the year 2004-07 in the ICAR funded research project entitled 'Production and Marketing of Pashmina in Cold Arid Region of J&K-Implications Towards Livelihood' was used. The importance of livestock and Changthangi goat production can also be judged from the fact that number of livestock and Changra goats per thousand persons is highest in Changthang followed by Nubra and Khaltsi blocks. The same trend is observed in the number of livestock and Changra goats per 100 ha of net area sown.
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The aim of this study was to find out the impact of climate change and production stress on oxidative stress indices in lactating and non-lactating cattle and buffalo under tropical conditions. Oxidative stress (OS) indices like catalase (CAT), super oxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione reductase (GSH) and lipid peroxidase (LPO) were estimated from the blood samples during winter, spring and summer. Oxidative stress indices were significantly elevated in both cattle and buffalo during hot summer and cold winter than during spring season indicating stress due to climatic stress. Significantly elevated levels of oxidative stress indices were recorded in lactating animals under different seasons than non-lactating animals indicating production stress in addition to climatic stress in lactating animals. Climate change and demand for heavy milk production predisposes animals to oxidative stress. Strategies to combat climate change induced oxidative stress need to be devised to prevent animal sufferings and production loss.
The Buddhist Changpas-pastoral nomads of Changthang, Ladakh form an ethnic entity. Like other nomads in the world, the pastoral nomads of Changthang are a minority, suffering problems of under representation, social, economic and geographic marginalisation. The region is extremely poor in conventional energy sources (fossils, fuel and wood) and has almost no industrially exploitable resources. Natural environmental limitations dictate many aspects of traditional life, especially settlement pattern and economic system. Among the Changpas, the pastoral mode of livelihood is an evident attempt to adapt to a natural environment, which provides no plants as food that can support humans and has no potential for growing food crops. Under such conditions, the only solution is to domesticate large herds of various animals, which can feed off the plants and in return, the animals can sustain humans. Since, the ecological conditions of Changthang are not favourable for crop growing, the Changpas raise large herds of sheep and goats as well as transport animals like yaks and horses. These animals provide the Changpas with meat, milk, varieties of wool, which they use themselves and barter for grains and other utilities. This economic interdependence of nomadic pastoral and settled population has been an important characteristic of the society in this area. The Changpas social behaviour is, in part, a response to constraints and opportunities of the natural environment. Both stability and change are outcomes of response to the immediateneeds of daily life. The basic form of social organisation in the area was rural, and social relations among the agriculturalists, nomadic and semi-nomadic groups were based on trade and exchange of essential commodities. The Changpas’ subsistence level pastoral economy, traditional social and religio-cultural systems are composite part of cold desert’s ecological system. Their way of life shows a capacity to adapt themselves to the rugged cold desert environment. The Changpas possess a high degree of specialised knowledge and a flexible social organisation to make viable the mobile mode of production. Despite the ecological constraints, the Changpas were managing their environment for making a living without outside intervention. Their own societal controls like polyandry and cutting of excess animals, helped in turn by their customary rights and equity in resource allocation has helped them. The Changpas are organised using a patrilineal idiom, all members being patrilineal descendants of the founding ancestor. Rangeland, livestock, manpower and the considerable knowledge of the skills necessary to exploit them effectively are the principle economic resources of the Changpas of Changthang. Resource management in a risky environment illustrates the skills of the Changpas for survival. Traditional practices of Changpas, such as the rotation of grazing areas and use of reserve pastures in case of natural calamities help manage the variability of ecosystem and bail out pastures from a state of permanent degradation. Each animal has its own specific characteristics and adaptation to the environment. Rearing together different animals maximised the use of vegetation in the pasture. Different animals graze on different plants. In recent decades, the Changpas of Changthang have been experiencing changes due to external pressures that have altered political, economic and social landscapes. Traditionally, the Changpas were self-sufficient and livestock were providing them with their food and lodging. In recent decades, continuous massive defense investments and improvement in communications; proliferation of government departments; introduction of development plans; provision for basic amenities, alterations in traditional subsistence economy, its commercialisation and extension of know-how through government departments and non-government organisations and tourism has led to a higher motivation among local people for better standards of living. Increasing administrative and market integration and population growth over the years have weakened socio-homeostasis with no functional substitutes for restoring positive social system. For centuries, pastoralists in Changthang have lived in the context of environmental uncertainty and have developed a diverse range of strategies, institutions and network to minimise this unpredict-ability and risk. Pastoral management strategies, which may have worked previously, may or may not be sufficient now. The three communities of Samad, Korzok and Kharnak responded differently to these changes. Various pressures with an ever-increasing rate of change necessitated the adoption of new strategies for survival.
The Changthang region of Ladakh has a huge genetic resource on the income of which the Changthangi people thrive. The main livestock reared by these people are Pashmina goat, Changthangi sheep and yak. The economics of pastoral farming in Changthang region were studied and the income from Pashmina goat was compared with other livestock sources. The present study reveals that Pashmina goats add to majority of the total income followed by sheep and yak. Since at present no breeding policy is followed in Changthang region, a well organized breeding policy upgraded by a scientific managemental practice can add a lot to the present existing income of the Changthangi people.
Understanding livestock grazing impacts on native wildlife is difficult when grazing is pervasive and has a long history. Spiti Valley in the Indian Trans-Himalaya is characterized by overstocking of rangelands and a grazing history of over 3 millennia. An intriguing aspect of the wild large-herbivore assemblage in Spiti Valley is its low diversity. In the present theoretical exploration, data on body masses of wild large-herbivore species in the Trans-Himalaya are examined against the backdrop of competition theory, to evaluate the possible role of competition in structuring the herbivore assemblage. The analysis is then expanded to include the livestock assemblage, and the possibility of the low wild herbivore diversity in Spiti Valley being a consequence of the high livestock diversity is explored. Null model analyses suggest that competitive interactions may have played a role in structuring the Trans-Himalayan wild herbivore assemblage. This is reflected in a proportional regularity in species body masses, with each species, on average, being a constant proportion larger than the nearest smaller one. Such a proportional regularity is absent in the livestock assemblage. The analyses make a case for the competitive exclusion of at least four wild grazers in Spiti over the last 3 millennia. The present grazer assemblage conforms reasonably to the theoretical predictions - these four species are among the six wild herbivores presently missing from Spiti. The implications of the analyses for conservation management in the Trans-Himalaya are discussed.
The nomadic pastoralist Changpas of Ladakh face a simple choice in the changing world - to stay where they are or to migrate to Leh. This article discusses changes in the outside world that have affected the Changpas and changes in the Changpa society itself; and attempts to predict future directions of the community.