Pastures & Pastoralism

(ISSN: 2817-3457; CODEN: PPAAC2; DOI: 10.33002/pp) is an international, scientific double blind peer-reviewed open access journal published annually (once a year) online by The Grassroots Institute.

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VOLUME 1 (2023) | Pastures & Pastoralism

Gradually, pasturelands are being converted into other land uses or enclosed for exclusive uses under various national laws or policies. Resilience of pastoralist communities to the changing environments – ecological, economic and political – has great potential to protecting and conserving the pastureland landscapes or waterscapes. Such resilience is more talked in context of climate change and its impact on the herder communities surviving in marginal environments. In the view of widespread regional and national policy failures and modernity-catalyzed societal rejection of transhumance and nomadic pastoralism, International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists 2026 declared by the United Nations General Assembly is a grand opportunity for all to revitalize the least-external-input driven systems of livestock raising and mobility across the continents. This international blind peer-review journal, ‘Pastures & Pastoralism’, will contribute to the science, policy and practice across the world by providing a novel platform to seasoned, budding and young scientists, experts and practitioners, including the pastoral community members.

VOLUME 1, (2023)

M – 00333Research Article

Issues of Declining Livestock Breeds: Revisiting Domestic Animal Diversity in Pastoral Systems

Saverio Krätli

Independent Researcher & Consultant, Editor of Nomadic Peoples, Associate Research Fellow at the German Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture, and Transdisciplinary and Social-ecological Landuse Research (DITSL), Germany.

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Pastures & Pastoralism, 01, 1-14. Doi:

Received: 09 December 2022

Reviewed: 29 December 2022

Revised: 17 January 2023

Accepted: 28 January 2023

Published: 07 April 2023


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Concerns for the disappearance of local breeds go back to the beginning of scientific breeding and the early national policies of agriculture intensification in Europe at the time of the industrial revolution. That initial Eurocentric framing of domestic animal diversity as ‘local’ breeds, largely the result of natural selection and potentially a useful source of ‘raw’ genetic material, remains dominant. Today, however, the debate around domestic animal diversity has been globalized, and so includes livestock breeding populations and livestock systems that developed outside the European experience. This paper looks at domestic animal diversity from the vantage point of one of such cases: cattle breeding among the Wodaabe pastoralists in Niger. The research is based on a combination of qualitative methodologies standard in social anthropology and quantitative analysis of memorized herd genealogies over a 20-year period. Results show that a competent herder can control cattle mating in over 90 percent of cases. Complex learned behaviour in cattle, particularly related to feeding competence, is a major selection criterion. The Wodaabe specialize in using the short-lived and unpredictable grazing opportunities, which is characteristic of Sahelian rangelands. To successfully interface the unpredictable variability in potential inputs, they breed herds with exceptional levels of within-breed diversity, crucially including epigenetic traits. The common practice of conflating Domestic Animal Diversity (DAD) with Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR), therefore, falls short of adequately representing the relationship between ‘local breeds’ and livelihood in pastoral systems.


Domestic animal diversity; Breeding; Wodaabe; Pastoralism; Animal genetic resources


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APA Style

Krätli, S. (2023). Issues of Declining Livestock Breeds: Revisiting Domestic Animal Diversity in Pastoral Systems. Pastures & Pastoralism, 01, 1-14.

Harvard Style

Krätli, S. (2023). Issues of Declining Livestock Breeds: Revisiting Domestic Animal Diversity in Pastoral Systems. Pastures & Pastoralism, 01: 1-14. Doi:

ACS Style

Krätli S. Issues of Declining Livestock Breeds: Revisiting Domestic Animal Diversity in Pastoral Systems. Pastures & Pastoralism, 2023, 01, 1-14.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Krätli, Saverio. 2023. “Issues of Declining Livestock Breeds: Revisiting Domestic Animal Diversity in Pastoral Systems”. Pastures & Pastoralism, 01: 1-14.

AAA Style

Krätli, Saverio. 2023. “Issues of Declining Livestock Breeds: Revisiting Domestic Animal Diversity in Pastoral Systems”. Pastures & Pastoralism, 01: 1-14.

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    Executive Chief Editor

    Dr. Hasrat Arjjumend

    Senior Fellow

    Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, Canada

    Associate Editor

    Ms. Aayushi Malhotra

    PhD Scholar, UGC-Senior Research Fellow

    Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences-Pilani, Rajasthan, India

    Editorial Board

    * Dr. Hijaba Ykhanbai (Mongolia)

    * Dr. Saverio Krätli (Germany)

    * Dr. Ayman Balla Mustafa Yassien (Libya)

    * Dr. Nma Bida Alhaji (Nigeria)

    * Prof. Dr. Josiane Manirakiza (Burundi)

    * Dr. D. K. Sadana (India)

    * Dr. Smruti Smita Mohapatra (India)

    * Dr. Avik Ray (India)

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