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What are the Characteristics of Nomadic Herding?

i. An ancient activity and aboriginal form of livestock rising.

ii. Simplest form of pastoralism in which herds and flocks graze chiefly on natural vegetation.

iii. Subsistence form of exploiting dry regions, in which the use of land is extensive.

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iv. In contrast with other subsistence farmers pastoral nomads depend primarily on animals rather than crops for their survival. They take milk from the animals for food and skins and hairs for clothing and tent.

v. Nomads select the type and number of animals for the herd according to local cultural and physical characteristics. The camel is the most desired animal in North Africa and the Middle East followed by sheep and goats. Horses, yaks, reindeers and Llamas are other important animals.

vi. Conditions of extreme drought and severe cold sometimes cause a heavy loss of herds. Emphasis is always laid on those breeds of animals that can withstand drought, cold and journey.

vii. Nomadic herders are constantly or intermittently on the move.

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viii. The pattern of movement can be of three types:

(a) Constant pattern of movements from one area of pasture to another;

(b) Movement in the desert from one water hole to another;

(c) Seasonal pattern of livestock movement between mountains and lowland pastures (transhumance). Sheep or other animals may graze in alpine meadows in the summer and be heralded back down into valleys for the winter.

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ix. The life of the nomadic herders is traditionally very dependent upon their animals, which provided food, clothing (from their wool, hair or skins), transport and for materials from which their houses can be made.

The nomads travel very light, have few personal possessions and live in temporary homes such as yurts or tents.

The extra requirement was obtained by trading with caravan merchants while some nomads who stayed for long periods in one place grew a few basic foodcrops.

Distribution

Large belt of arid and semi-arid land that includes North Africa, the Middle East and parts of central Asia Nomadic Herders

(i) In Africa Fulani of the west African Savannas, the Masai in east Africa, the Nuba in Ethiopia and Sudan, the Bantu and Hottentots of southern Africa in Botswana, the Tuareg of the Sahara

(ii) The Bedouins of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.

(iii) Central Asia (from the Caspian Sea to Mongolia and northern China): Kirghiz, Kazakhs and Kalmuks. At places the forests are burnt to clear the land of vegetation and therefore this type of farming is also called slash and-burn agriculture.

(iv) Groups such as Kirghiz, Kazakhs and Kalmuks were the main nomadic herders.

(v) In the tundra lands of Siberia, Yakuts, Samoyecls and Koriaks and Lapps in Scandinavia have all been nomadic herders but they are tending to settle down or have already settled.

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