Many of subsistence patterns have been the answer of problems pertaining to survival for societies throughout history. However, these patterns are not just part of history but can be found in today’s world as well and that too not in a dormant state but actively developed and adopted one (Harris, 1996).
Out of the many subsistence patterns that are seen in history, Pastoralism is one where people earn their livelihood by herding animals that eat greens. They may vary in species and form around the world but all are tame and eat grass or plants that live in herds. The choice of animals varies according to the regions. In Magnolia and central Asia, horses are preferred by most pastoralists. Cattle herding is done in East Africa. Sheep and goats are the choices of the mountainous region pastoralists of Southwest Asia (Harris, 1996).
In the more arid lowland areas of Southwest Asia and North and East Africa, the camel is used. Pastoralists in Northern Magnolia and Northern Scandinavia herd reindeer. The Dukha people of northern Mongolia, like their other Mongolian counterparts, milk and ride their reindeers whereas the Saami people of northern Scandinavia use the reindeers as their meat source (Harris, 1996).
There are essentially two forms of pastoralism- known as nomadism and transhumance. Nomadism is seasonal migration with variance in pattern as the timing and destinations of the migrations are solely dependent on the needs of the herd for fodder and water. Moreover, nomads on the basis of their migratory patterns live in tents or easily constructed dwellings and hence don’t possess permanent settlements. Usually, they rely on their own means for food and other necessities (Ferraro, 2005).
Transhumance pastoralists move from cool highland valleys in summer to warmer lowland valleys in winter thereby forming a cyclical pattern of migration. .