A Social-Ecological Typology of Rangelands Based on Rainfall Variability and Farming Type

Journal of Arid Environments, Vol. 148, p. 65-73, Forthcoming

23 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2017

See all articles by John-Oliver Engler

John-Oliver Engler

University of Vechta

David J. Abson

Leuphana University of Lueneburg

Robert Feller

Leuphana University of Lueneburg

Jan Hanspach

Leuphana University of Lueneburg

Henrik von Wehrden

Leuphana University of Lueneburg

Date Written: July 10, 2017

Abstract

We present a social-ecological typlogy for the world’s rangelands that integrates the much debated non-equilibrium concept from ecology with socio-economic characteristics of rangeland systems. We propose that, as a first approximation, the socio-economic properties can be adequately captured and differentiated by the distinction between the two main types of rangeland farming systems worldwide: subsistence and commercial farming. The resulting typology has four categories, which are ‘commercial equilibrium’, ‘commercial non-equilibrium’, ‘subsistence equilibrium’ and ‘subsistence non-equilibrium’. We provide and discuss examples for each category. Moreover, we point out how this typology might help to understand and address some of the problems related to unsustainable rangeland management. Finally, we provide and discuss a global map of rangelands that illustrates the geographic distribution of all four rangeland types.

Keywords: range management; non-equilibrium theory; commercial agriculture; subsistence agriculture; biophysical degradation; social-ecological systems

JEL Classification: Q10; Q54; Q57

Suggested Citation

Engler, John-Oliver and Abson, David J. and Feller, Robert and Hanspach, Jan and von Wehrden, Henrik, A Social-Ecological Typology of Rangelands Based on Rainfall Variability and Farming Type (July 10, 2017). Journal of Arid Environments, Vol. 148, p. 65-73, Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3086523

John-Oliver Engler (Contact Author)

University of Vechta ( email )

David J. Abson

Leuphana University of Lueneburg ( email )

Scharnhorststraße 1
Wilschenbrucher Weg 69
Lüneburg, 21335
Germany

Robert Feller

Leuphana University of Lueneburg ( email )

Universitätsallee 1
Lüneburg, 21335
Germany

Jan Hanspach

Leuphana University of Lueneburg ( email )

Scharnhorststraße 1
Lüneburg, 21335
Germany

Henrik Von Wehrden

Leuphana University of Lueneburg ( email )

Scharnhorststraße 1
Lüneburg, 21335
Germany

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