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The socio-ecological dynamics of pastoralism and overstocking in the Dhofar Mountains of Oman

Ball, Lawrence (2018) The socio-ecological dynamics of pastoralism and overstocking in the Dhofar Mountains of Oman. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:73239)

Language: English

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Achieving sustainable use of natural resources is the greatest challenge facing humanity today. Rangelands, which cover one-third to one-half of the earth's ice-free surface, are frequently mismanaged, vulnerable to climate change, and in a degraded state, and their inhabitants are some of the poorest and most marginalized communities on earth. Despite over a century of scientific attention, we still lack an adequate understanding of how rangeland socio-ecological systems operate and how rangeland vegetation responds to abiotic and biotic variables.

Therefore, this interdisciplinary research which utilises contemporary methods from the social, ecological and rangeland sciences, aims to firstly understand the social processes driving overstocking in rural Dhofar and secondly, assess the impacts of overstocking on vegetation communities. Data collection methods included interviews, questionnaires, participatory mapping exercises, vegetation sampling and remote sensing. Analytical procedures included qualitative coding, the application of a socio-ecological systems framework, multivariate analysis of vegetation communities and GIS spatial analysis.

Feedstuff provision is found to be a critical variable which deems many rangeland concepts inapplicable and maintains livestock populations beyond the carrying capacity of the environment. Subsequently, the rangelands, which receive reliable precipitation, exhibit equilibrium properties. Several decades of overbrowsing has increased the frequency of unpalatable species, decreased plant density, reduced advanced growth, altered population age structures, and altered plant phytomorphology through the damaging effects of management practises, bark stripping and browsing.

Our findings contribute valuable insights for rangeland science and demonstrate the need for new case studies, and synthesis of concepts and theories, specific to pastoralism in the Middle East. Our findings highlight a requirement for an intervention to reduce livestock pressure on the rangelands in Dhofar. We propose a shift away from the status quo of unmanaged and unproductive overstocking to an economically and environmentally sustainable rural livestock production system through certification, sustainable intensification and marketization.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Tzanopoulos, Joseph
Thesis advisor: MacMillan, Douglas
Uncontrolled keywords: Dhofar, rangelands, pastoralism, Oman, socio-ecological systems, overgrazing, overbrowsing, Khareef, South Arabia
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2019 15:13 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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