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The tragedy of enclosure: climate change, fencing, and local environmental knowledge in Tibet




Hopping, Kelly, speaker

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The impacts of climate change are distributed unevenly, and they may be exacerbated by top-down policies that are insensitive to the consequences of these changes for local communities. On the Tibetan Plateau, a shift toward privatized land management is dividing the land into smaller parcels and constraining pastoralists' traditional institutions for coping with environmental stressors. To understand how these changes are affecting herders in central Tibet, I interviewed members from every household in my study village about their concerns and knowledge of changing environmental conditions. I then combined their observations with data from satellite images to analyze how rangeland conditions have changed over the last four decades. I show how recently fenced grazing boundaries are causing the burdens of climate-induced land change to be shared unequally among pastoralists, with consequences for their ability to continue sustaining their traditional livelihoods.


Presented at the Spring 2013 Center for Collaborative Conservation ( Seminar and Discussion Series, "Collaborative Conservation in Practice: Innovations in Communities around the World", March 12, 2013, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. This series focused on the work that the CCC's Collaborative Conservation Fellows have been doing across the Western U.S. and around the world.
Kelly Hopping is a PhD student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology and the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at CSU. She was part of the 3rd cohort of CCC fellows and is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Her research uses interdisciplinary ideas and methods to understand the effects of changing climate and natural resource management policies on Tibetan yak herders and their alpine rangelands. She has been working in Tibet for five years, and recently she has extended her interest in pastoral social-ecological systems to new research in Mongolia as well.
With Ciren Yangzom and Julia Klein.
Includes recorded speech and PowerPoint presentation.

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Tibetan Plateau
global mean
land management


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