Ongoing Research

Provided below are short summaries of the research that has been recently completed or is currently ongoing.
Wildlife monitoring, Charri Dhand Lake Grasslands © RAMBLE

The HERDING project: Heritage, dignity and adaptations in times of rapid change

The HERDING project focuses on women in mobile pastoralist communities. It is an interdisciplinary project that aims  to gauge the complex transformations of pastoralist women’s lives. The rapidly changing patterns of land use and pressures of sedentarisation are affecting pastoral livelihoods and making them vulnerable to poverty, but disproportionately affecting women. This project examines the impact on women and aims to advance a view of sustainable development that honours pastoral heritage, stalls processes of exclusion and supports India’s sustainable development goals.
Vali and Devi, two pastoralists who took part in the project  ©  Krutika Haraniya

Understanding and resolving pastoralist-snow leopard conflicts in the High Himalaya

In Uttarakhand and in the Kumaon region, in particular, transhumant herders now face restrictions from government and local communities along their traditional routes. This has translated into progressively poor commons governance, with implications for predator-prey population dynamics in the alpine meadows.

Over the next five years, we hope to undertake a combination of research and community interventions to reverse some of the trends outlined above. The strategy will involve building a common understanding (baseline data and analysis) of emerging problems and possible interventions; reviving traditional commons governance; assisting shepherds in breeding traditional indigenous breeds; establishing predation compensation funds; strengthening advocacy for and rights to traditional grazing grounds and compensation funds and policies from the government.
  • © Emmanuel Theophilus
  • Handing fox lights to shepherds to reduce incidences of predation in Uttrakhand
    © Emmanuel Theophilus
  • Sheep in Kumaon © Emmanuel Theophilus
  • Alpine landscapes, Kumaon © Emmanuel Theophilus

COVID: A test of resilience - 
how have herders in India fared during the Covid-19 pandemic?

A month into the COVID-19 lockdown, a brief survey of pastoral communities by CfP underlined the most salient ways in which these communities were being affected by the lockdown. Several researchers within and outside CfP used those findings to conduct a national survey across nine states and two union territories to fine-tune our understanding of how pastoralists fared during the COVID-19 lockdown and in its aftermath. The national-level report of this survey is available here.
Meeting herders during the Covid survey at Virudhunagar and Madurai districts, Tamil Nadu. © Dr. P. Kumar 

Desi Oon - 
an assessment of India’s indigenous wool economy

Based on a generalized sense that herder revenues from the sale of wool have been in historical decline, we commissioned a national survey on the state of the wool economy, with specific reference to indigenously produced wool. This study was conducted in two phases. The first focused on Rajasthan, Gujarat, the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand and Telangana. The second phase looked at Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, and Karnataka.The broad findings of this survey point towards a wide-scale decline of the local wool economy. 
A wool weaver’s workshop in Barmer, Rajasthan © Dr. Arun Mani Dixit

Atlas on Indian Pastoralism

Our atlas on Indian pastoralism is aimed at creating a visual representation of pastoral communities spread across India. We are focusing on capturing temporal, spatial, ecological, and cultural aspects relating to pastoralist use of multiple landscapes. This atlas will be a useful resource for others like policymakers, researchers and civil society organisations. We are currently implementing the pilot phase of our atlas project in Himachal Pradesh and testing methodologies, which we plan to replicate across India.
Gaddi pastoralist making tea in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh © Aniruddh Sheth

Dung in the Deccan - 
a study of pastoral penning on agricultural lands

This study uses a historical perspective to examine how penning practices have changed in the region over time. It focuses on understanding interpersonal relations between farmers and pastoralists, socio-cultural dimensions associated with the practice, indigenous rituals and traditions, economies surrounding livestock penning in the region, how each of these have evolved over time and the triggers responsible for the change. 
Penning in the Deccan, © Nipun Prabhakar

Partners and types of collaborations

CEPT University

Architecture of pastoralist dwellings

University of Leeds

Understanding pastoralist womens’ lives
united kingdom


Documenting traditional knowledge

Pragati Abhiyan

A study in penning in the Deccan
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