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Exploring synergies: Pastoral practices, rangeland biodiversity, and ecosystem services




Online (Zoom)

Date & Time

24 May 2024

Register AGENDA

About the event

This webinar will be a virtual gathering of experts, practitioners, policymakers, and representatives from Indigenous groups from across the Hindu Kush Himalya (HKH) region and beyond. It will feature keynote presentations and thematic presentations focused on the importance of rangelands and pastoralism for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services.


  • Increase awareness about the importance of rangelands and pastoralism for biodiversity conservation and the provision of ecosystem services
  • Discuss the threats to rangelands and pastoral systems, including habitat degradation, land tenure issues, climate change, invasive species, and conflicting land use

Expected outcomes

  • Enhanced understanding on the critical role that rangelands and pastoralism play in conserving biodiversity and providing ecosystem services
  • Knowledge exchange on best practices and innovative approaches for sustainable rangeland management
  • Advocacy for sustainable management of rangelands and pastoral systems in the HKH region and beyond

Expected participants

This webinar will bring together research institutions, NGOs, government agencies, and indigenous institutions.


Rangelands are integral to biodiversity conservation in the HKH, providing habitats for numerous plant and animal species and contributing to biodiversity preservation on a global scale. Rangelands and pastoral areas play a significant role in carbon sequestration, water regulation, and soil fertility maintenance, thereby supporting the overall health and resilience of ecosystems. They hold great cultural significance for Indigenous communities who have shaped these landscapes through their management and whose beliefs and traditional practices are deeply intertwined with their natural environment.

Despite their significance, rangelands face various threats to biodiversity their and ecosystem services, including land degradation, overgrazing, invasive species, and climate change. The sustainable restoration and conservation of rangelands necessitates the continuation of pastoralism which has co-evolved with rangeland biodiversity over centuries.

Rangelands account for about 60% of the land area in the HKH and provide the basis for economic and livelihood opportunities for some 25–30 million Indigenous and culturally diverse peoples who inhabit and depend directly on their extensive use for pastoralism. As we approach the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralism (IYRP) 2026, it is critical that we deepen our understanding of the role that these ecosystems play in biodiversity conservation as well as the role that indigenous management practices play in sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Speakers profile

Long Ruijun

Dr Ruijun LONG is the Distinguished Professor in Pastoral Science and Ecology at the School of Life Science, Lanzhou University and a Principal Research Scientist at the State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agroecosystems. Dr Long’s extensive engagements include servings as the founding Director of the International Centre for Tibetan Plateau Ecosystem Management, Director of the International Mountain Ecological Agricultural Hub of Gansu Province, Head of the Northwestern Office of CN-ICIMOD Committee, Ambassador for the International Science and Technology Cooperation of Gansu Province for the Belt and Road Regions, International Advisory Committee Member for the International Conference on Sustainable Animal Agriculture for Developing Countries, and an Associate Editor of Animal Nutrition.

Igshaan Samuels

Dr Igshaan Samuels is a specialist researcher in rangeland ecology and management within the Range and Forage Sciences Unit of the Agricultural Research Council in South Africa. With a PhD in Botany from the University of Cape Town, he brings over two decades of experience working in dryland pastoral landscapes. He serves as the Global Co-chair for the International Support Group for the United Nations declared International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists in 2026.

Rashmi Singh

Dr Rashmi Singh has been amplifying the voices of pastoralists voices for over a decade through her research-based findings around pastoral knowledge systems and their role in local and regional economies and rangeland functions in the Himalayan region. She has been actively engaged with regional and global pastoral organisations and holds the position of global co-chair for the rangeland and biodiversity working group and is the co-chair of the South Asia Group.

Sunita Chaudhary

Dr Sunita Chaudhary serves as the Ecosystem Services Specialist at ICIMOD, overseeing research, policy inputs, capacity building, and advocacy of evidence-based policy for sustainable development of Hindu Kush Himalaya. Her applied and interdisciplinary work focuses on human-nature interactions to find solutions for a sustainable region where humans respect and live in harmony with nature.

Uttam Babu Shrestha

Dr Uttam Babu Shrestha is the founding director of the Global Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (GIIS), Nepal. He completed his PhD in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts, USA. He was a fellow for the global assessments of Biodiversity at the Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) from 2016-2019, and the lead author for the assessments of sustainable use of wild species at IPBES from 2018-2021 and second global assessment scoping experts for IPBES.