Moving Mountains

For mountains and people


They stretch north for 1,200 kilometres across the spacious steppes of the Tibetan Plateau to the cold dry desserts of the Karakoram-Pamir landscape. These vast grazing lands provide forage for unique wildlife and millions of livestock, especially for species or breeds that have adapted specifically to the high, dry landscape. They also form a geographical, spiritual and cultural landscape that is home to many distinct cultural groups.

Rough topography, poor drainage, low and erratic precipitation and cold temperatures make it impossible for indigenous communities in the region to survive entirely by agriculture. Pastoralism remains the only livelihood option in much of this territory, contributing close to 100 percent of annual household income. In other areas, people live by agro-pastoralism, with herding contributing 50 to 70 percent of income, while in mixed crop livestock farming systems it contributes 10 to 30 percent. All across the rangelands, the health of the ecosystem is crucial to economic survival.

Although rangelands are the largest ecosystem in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, they are an under-acknowledged resource. Global warming and socio-economic transformation threatens the rangelands and the communities that reside there, breaking down pastoralism and disturbing ecological systems in ways that ultimately upset the highly productive agricultural systems in the distant and populous plains.

News and features

Videos and Stories

Inception Workshop for Regional Cooperation in the Karakoram-Pamir Landscape

The inception workshop for transboundary cooperation in the Karakoram-Pamir Landscape (KPL) was held from 23 to 24 January 2013 in Islamabad, Pakistan to develop a framework for long-term programmatic action and begin the process of developing the framework for regional cooperation between China and Pakistan.

Related Initiatives


Hindu Kush Karakoram Pamir Landscape (HKPL)

The landscape of the Karakoram, Pamir Mountains and the Wakhan along the China-Pakistan- Afghanistan and Tajikistan border area represents a highly fragile alpine ecosystem with unique biodiversity that is currently under threat from increasing anthropogenic pressure and drivers of global change.

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The Landscape Initiative for Far Eastern Himalayas (HI-LIFE - formerly Brahmaputra-Salween Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative - BSLCDI) is a collaborative effort of ICIMOD and the Governments of China, India, and Myanmar.

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Mountain landscape 2
mountain goats 3
1. Tibet Rangelands 2. Mountain landscape 3. Mountain goats grazing in Tibet


You will find publications produced or related to this topic in HimalDoc, our publications repository. These resources include journal articles, books, book chapters, research reports, working papers, brochures, information sheets, and publicity materials, among other products.

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