Transhumant pastoralism in a changing world: challenges and opportunities to sustainable yak farming in Bhutan


Little is known about the impact of external factors (e.g. socioeconomic developments, policies and climate change) on yak farming in Bhutan. This thesis assesses the past developments, current situation (including the welfare of yaks) and future perspectives in yak farming. Despite a low level of (veterinary) care, yaks experience a high level of welfare in autumn under existing management systems. Increasing yak predation, decreasing forage availability, and decreasing number of successors are the major threats to yak farming as expressed by yak herders and livestock professionals. This explains why many herders and livestock professionals think that the number of yak farming families will decline in the future. Moreover, when asked which problem was the most urgent and what solution is required to sustain yak farming, different stakeholder groups deferred in their opinions. This suggests a need for a multi-stakeholder dialogue aiming to discuss problems and solutions together.