Annual Report 2015: Knowledge generation and use

Future of Yak in Transboundary Landscape Tackled in Special Research Volume

Yak are integral to the culture and livelihoods of the high Himalayas, but border closures and restrictions have altered the traditions of nomadic pastoralists and closed the road to genetic exchange, while negative impacts are magnified by changing ecosystems and socioeconomic pressures.

China’s Tibet-Qinghai Plateau supports the world’s strongest yak population, but smaller populations outside that area are becoming in-bred and vulnerable. Yak herders across the region – from China to Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan – face stresses such as rangeland degradation, climate change, and socioeconomic shifts. 

A special research volume examining these pressures and approaches to managing them makes a significant step towards a comprehensive understanding of the ecological, socioeconomic, and cultural role of the yak. By collecting and disseminating key science and management insights from regional specialists, Yak on the Move: Transboundary Challenges and Opportunities for Yak Raising in a Changing Hindu Kush Himalayan Region will help decision makers and stakeholders across the region address the future of yaks and the people they sustain.

Yak herders face challenges that include rangeland degradation and restricted mobility across borders, which limits the yak gene pool