Pastoralism has an ancient heritage in the vast natural pastures of Central Asia. These pastoral systems were profoundly altered after the incorporation of Kazakstan and Turkmenistan into the Soviet Union. Pastoralists were collectivised into state farms, building an industrialised nomadism which was highly productive while preserving elements of the pastoral systems. Independence from the Soviet Union then brought new policies which re-organised the state farms and removed state support in what has been termed the 'second revolution'. This collection traces how pastoralists have coped with the challenges of change in a part of the world with a long-tradition of livestock keeping. Their precarious position - balanced between a market system where only the fittest may survive, and their attempt to remain a human resource for the future development of the natural pastures and livestock industry - is carefully and critically examined by the contributors. The pastoralists' unique skills at managing livestock in a variable and challenging environment, and their ability to supply commodities much in demand mean that an understanding of their societal position is essential for anyone interested in transition in the former Soviet Union. Ilya Alimaev, Kazak Institute of Pasture and Fodder Roy Behnke, Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen Jim Ellis, University of Colorado Ovlyakuli Hodjakov
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