- August 7, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject : Geography
Section: Human Geography
Context: The Changpas’ way of life is undergoing shocks and disruption
- The cold desert of the Changthang plateau, situated between the Himalayan and Karakoram ranges and extending up and into Tibet, is a bio culturally unique region.
- The ecological conditions of the region including arid climate and sparse vegetation, support high-altitude nomadic pastoralism, and are not conducive to cultivation. It has a freezing temperatures at an altitude ranging from 4500 to 7000 msl.
- It comprises vast grasslands and sand deserts, high altitude lakes such as Tsokar, Tsomoriri, and Pangong, large marshy stretches, and rivers such as Hanle and Indus.
- It is the only known breeding site in India for black-necked crane and bar-headed goose, and home for snow leopard, Pallas’s cat, Tibetan grey wolf, wild ass (Kiang), Tibetan gazelle, argali, woolly hare, Tibetan lark, among many others.
- The Changpa are a semi-nomadic people: they usually stay in one place for a few months in a row, near pastures where their sheep, yaks and Pashmina goats can graze
- They are mainly found in the Changtang, a high plateauthat stretches across the cold desert of Ladakh.
- The process of migration from plain areas to pastures on mountains during summers and again from mountain pastures to plain areas during winters is known as transhumance.
- The Pashmina goatis a breed of goat inhabiting the plateaus in Tibet, Nepal, parts of Burma and neighbouring areas of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, India.
- It is also known as ‘Changthangi’, ‘Changra”.
- They are raised for ultra-fine cashmere wool, also known as pashmina once woven.Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has published an Indian Standard for identification, marking and labelling of Pashmina products to certify its purity.
- The certification will help curb the adulteration of Pashminaand also protect the interests of local artisans and nomads who are the producers of Pashmina raw material. It will also assure the purity of Pashmina for customers.
- People do grow basic crops like barley and peas, but primarily for their own and their animals’ consumption and for religious ceremonies.
- The Changpas, have traditionally been primarily nomadic pastoralists, rearing yak, sheep, goat, horses, for their sustenance and livelihoods, including trade in products like wool.
System of rotational grazing:
- The Changpas practise an age-old system of rotational grazing that protects the pastures from being overgrazed, besides helping conserve fodder for lean winter months.
- A diversity of livestock leaves droppings that add manure to the pastures and sustains a variety of micro-fauna and flora.
- They move through 5-6 pastures in a yea Individual households do not decide pasture movements. It has to be a collective decision.
- The goba (village head) calls the yulpa (village assembly) for a collective meeting to reconfirm, or change, the seasonal movement
- Along with movement to pastures, the number of livestock and number of families per pasture is also fixed.
Impact of climate change:
- Climate change induced impacts include receding glaciers, dried up water springs, less dense marshes, and declining quality of pastures.
- The reduced diversity and changing composition of livestock, with an increasing focus on Pashmina goat, whose wool has high market value
- This has resulted in higher mortality during severe winters. They are not as resilient as sheep and yaks. People don’t keep yaks anymore whose manure is so essential for maintaining the pastures