Sustaining Agropastoralism on the Bolivian Altiplano: The Case of San José Llanga



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The main objective of the joint IBTA/SR-CRSP project in Bolivia was to assess the overall role of small ruminants in the ecological and economic sustainability of an agropastoral system. Prominent was a mandate for us to investigate: (1) Whether small ruminants were important contributors to environmental degradation; and (2) whether there were feasible improvements in management that could mitigate negative impacts of small ruminants on natural resources and increase efficiency of animal production (see Chapter 1: Project objectives and research approach). These issues are important in light of recent controversy concerning environmental degradation of the world’s rangelands. On one hand people and livestock are blamed (Sinclair and Fryxell 1985; Cloudsley-Thompson 1988) while on another hand climate, or change in climate, is cited as a key factor (Rasmusson 1987; Ellis and Swift 1988). If livestock are not to blame then efforts to de-stock traditional pastoral systems could be in error (Behnke and Scoones 1991).

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Chapter 05: The Grazing Livestock of San José Llanga: Multiple-species Resource Use and the Management and Productivity of Sheep