[SESYNC Seminar Series] Pathways of Social-Environmental Transformation in Pastoral Social Ecological Systems in the Global South

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Dr. Julio Postigo, Postdoctoral Fellow, SESYNC
Time of Event: 
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 12:30

SESYNC – 1 Park Place, Suite 300, Annapolis, MD

Change is constant for Pastoral Social Ecological Systems (PSES), which have had to respond to social environmental change over the millennia. Livestock domestication, provision of 10% of the planet's meat, and the use of 20% of Earth's land exemplify the scope and scale of PSES responses.

However, in the last decades, socio-economic drivers of land conversion have encroached on pastoral land, limited livestock mobility, and restricted access to pasture and water. Extreme climatic events diminish available fodder, while inadequate policies hinder resilient PSES.

Despite PSES marginality and vulnerability, little investigation has addressed responses of the PSES to global change. This presentation analyzes some of the interactions between PSES and global change. Furthermore, possible pathways of transformation following these interactions in the Global South are suggested. Preliminary results point to pervasive effects of globalization, loss of control and access to land, population displacement and, the expansion of the agrarian frontier through large-scale agroindustry operations. Furthermore, it is expected that these operations will enhance the stress on resources by increasing water demand and agricultural inputs. Millennial human-environment interaction has spawned legacies and path dependencies wherein PSES’ adaptive capacity and resilience are generated. However, ongoing changes may push the system onto a regime shift. Insights from this research shed light on the cross-level and multi-scale interactions of PSES such as the interactions of social environmental drivers and land systems change. Furthermore, global drivers of change and local responses exemplified cross level processes. Some of these drivers underlay the anthropogenic global environmental change that has set the planet on a pathway to a critical transition.

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