How Pastoral Farming Can Help to Avoid a Biodiversity Crisis

The world is losing its biodiversity. An estimated 41,000 animal species are now threatened with extinction. World leaders will convene at the UN COP15 biodiversity conference in Montreal this month to discuss ways of reversing this decline.

Participants are expected to adopt a global framework that sets out measures to safeguard biodiversity. One approach is to conserve 30% of the world’s land and sea area through protected areas and other conservation measures in areas of limited human activity. Some campaigners are calling for this target to be met by the end of the decade.

But much of the land set aside for protection is occupied by indigenous people who may be excluded or displaced. Mobile pastoral farmers are one such group. Millions of pastoralists graze livestock across a variety of environments worldwide.

Case studies from around the world indicate that including pastoral communities in conservation initiatives can help to address the tensions that emerge around protected areas, while improving biodiversity.