There is no workaround for improvisation

–Return to an old resource management typology. Its two dimensions are: (1) fixed resources/mobile resources and (2) fixed management/mobile management.

The repeated example of the mobile resources/mobile management cell has been pastoralist (nomadic/transhumant) herders. Fortunately, the truth of the matter has always been more usefully complicated.

From the standpoint of sustaining biodiversity across wide rangelands, some pastoralist systems are examples of mobile management (e.g., of grazers or browsers) with respect to fixed resources (different patches at different points and times along routes or itineraries). Indeed, this may be occurring because fixed on-site biodiversity management is too costly to undertake, if not altogether unimaginable otherwise.

–Now ratchet up the complexity. What had been mobile management must now be fixed; and what had been a fixed resource or asset now must be mobile.

Example: During the COVID lockdown, some pastoralists created informal bush markets at or near their kraals as alternatives to the now-restricted formal marketplaces. So too do formal associations of pastoralists participating in distant conference negotiations or near-by problem-solving meetings exemplify a now differently fixed resource exercising now differently-mobile management.

It’s good to remember that not only government can (and should) make their fixed-point resources–formal markets or social protection infrastructure–mobile.

–So what?

Terms, like “adaptable” and “flexible,” are not nuanced enough to catch the place-specific improvisational property of that adaptability and flexibility in undertaking shifts from fixed to mobile or mobile to fixed.

More formally, being skilled at real-time improvisation is what we also must expect of pastoralists whose chief system control variable is their real-time adjustments in grazing/browsing intensities (which can of course include adjusting livestock numbers through off-take).

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