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Research, Policy and Practice

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Pastoralism is now in ESCI

Emerging Sources Citation Index is a new edition in Web of Science Core Collection - part of ​​​​​​​Clarivate Analytics. ESCI is a multidisciplinary Citation Index covering all areas of the scholarly literature of the sciences, social sciences and arts & humanities. The selection process for ESCI is related to the process applied to SCIE, SSCI and AHCI. Journals accepted for coverage in ESCI must be peer reviewed, follow ethical publishing practices, meet our technical requirements, have English language bibliographic information, and be recommended or requested by a scholarly audience of Web of Science users.

Article publishing charges, waivers and sponsorships

Open access publishing is not without costs. Pastoralism therefore levies an article-processing charge (APC) of £865/$1355/€1105 for each article accepted for publication. Pastoralism can waive the APC for a number of articles at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief. More information about APCs, memberships and waiver programs can be found here.

Editor's featured article

Variability is not uncertainty; mobility is not flexibility: Clarifying concepts in pastoralism studies with evidence from Tajikistan

By Kramer Gillin (Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA)

Pastoralism Vol. 11, Article Number: 13 (2021)

Research on pastoral systems has been underpinned by the concepts of variability, uncertainty, mobility and flexibility, but these terms have been used inconsistently, imprecisely, and sometimes superfluously. Researchers and practitioners often conflate variability and unpredictability, on the one hand, and mobility and flexibility, on the other.

Spatiotemporal variability is intrinsic to pastoral systems, but this variability exists on a spectrum from more unpredictable to more predictable; indeed, some parameters of variability can be quite predictable. Livestock mobility can be flexible, but in some pastoral contexts mobility patterns are very stable. Flexible land governance is not necessarily a prerequisite for mobility; the substance of rules is more important than their flexibility. Mobility is a response to environmental variability, whereas flexibility is a response to environmental uncertainty.

Though some degree of uncertainty is present in every context and livelihood activity, uncertainty as it has been understood and deployed within the pastoralism literature is, in fact, not the most mobility-influencing type of variability in every pastoral system. Therefore, while mobility is intrinsic to pastoralism, the need for flexibility is context-specific and not intrinsic to pastoralism, in contrast to characterizations found especially in non-academic development literature.

Pastoralism literature has been dominated by certain regions and ecosystems—namely the drylands of sub-Saharan Africa—where the differences between these concepts are blurrier, contributing to their conflation and global overextension. Temperate mountain pastoral systems, like the one described in this article, make the distinctions and relationships between these concepts clearer, but these distinctions are important to recognize in every pastoral system.

Figure 3. Spatial organization of livestock areas in typical village of study area 

Figure 3. Spatial organization of livestock areas in typical village of study area

Flexibility in pastoral land use and governance can have costs and should therefore only be advocated to the extent that it is necessary from a livelihood standpoint and not embraced as an immutable and inherent quality of all pastoral settings.

Aims and scope

Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice investigates extensive livestock production systems throughout the world from a variety of disciplinary perspectives across the biophysical, social and economic sciences. The journal publishes research, reviews, reports and commentaries that influence public policy on the rangelands and livestock on which pastoralists rely for their livelihoods. These studies are not applied in the traditional sense, but through publishing basic research in this field Pastoralism acts as a forum for sharing information between scientists, policy makers and practitioners, with the aim of improving the welfare of pastoralists and better conserving the environments in which they live and the livestock upon which they rely.

The journal was founded in 2009 by Roy Behnke and Carol Kerven, social anthropologists who have each worked for forty years in pastoral and rangeland research and development in many countries. Carol is the Editor-in-Chief and Roy is the Book Review editor.

Editor's quote

Raising domesticated livestock on extensive pastures is one of the oldest human adaptations as a system of provisioning and land use. More than 40% of the earth's land area is still used as grazing land, by peoples from the tropics to the sub-Arctic, and include ranchers, nomads and farmers. The Pastoralism Journal is the only platform focused on the extensive land use of livestock-dependent production systems, covering biophysical, policy, social, economic, technical and cultural issues.

Policies and development programmes for pastoralists and their environments need to be founded on up-to-date, factual and objective information about what is happening, why and where it is happening and on the impacts. While many development agencies publish summaries and syntheses of primary material, the Pastoralism Journal provides open access to primary material upon which syntheses can be reliably based.

All the journal’s papers are free to anyone with internet access anywhere in the world, and the authorship of the journal is highly international, with 120 first authors spread across the world, affiliated to institutions in 38 different countries ranging from Argentina to Yemen.

Carol Kerven, Editor-in-Chief

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Indexing services

  • All articles published in Pastoralism are listed in the following indexing services:

    • SCOPUS
    • CAB Abstracts
    • CAB International
    • DOAJ
    • Global Health
    • OCLC
    • SCImago
    • Summon by Proquest