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Actions Tools Choose a colour. The historical evolution of Sherpa cultural ecology and land use is described with particular attention to the possibly deleterious effects of recent Mount Everest tourism in the Khumba area of Nepal. The study emphasizes the efforts of farmers, other land users and resource-management institutions Claiming the high ground: sherpas, subsistence, and environmental change in the highest Himalaya. Abstract : The historical evolution evolution Subject Category: Natural Processes see more details of Sherpa cultural ecology ecology Subject Category: Disciplines, Occupations and Industries see more details and land use land use Subject Category: Miscellaneous see more details is described with particular attention to the possibly deleterious effects effects Subject Category: Properties see more details of recent Mount Everest tourism tourism Subject Category: Activities see more details in the Khumba area of Nepal nepal Subject Category: Geographic Entities see more details.

The study emphasizes the efforts of farmers farmers Subject Category: People Groups see more details , other land users and resource-management institutions institutions Subject Category: Institutions and Organisations see more details to attune land use to their perception of environmental conditions and risks and to seize specific seasonal and altitudinal land-use opportunities.

Oral history history Subject Category: Disciplines, Occupations and Industries see more details , as brought to light in extensive interviews, was essential to an understanding of both adaptation and environmental transformation transformation Subject Category: Miscellaneous see more details. It was found that major changes in the subsistence economy have occurred for generations rather than in the tourism era alone and that despite recent economic transformation, Sherpas also continue to maintain old adaptive strategies.

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However, tourism has had several effects: 1 increased pressure on fuelwood fuelwood Subject Category: Commodities and Products see more details resources; 2 increased grazing intensity grazing intensity Subject Category: Miscellaneous see more details due to increased numbers of pack animals; and 3 the so-called garbage trail to Mount Everest.

The Sagarmatha National Park was established in to protect the Khumba area. It is concluded that earlier reports of environmental degradation environmental degradation Subject Category: Miscellaneous see more details were overdramatic, but litter-clearing operations, improved livestock livestock Subject Category: Organism Groups see more details management planning, and the restoration of communal forest management forest management Subject Category: Disciplines, Occupations and Industries see more details institutions should be studied and implemented urgently to achieve a better integration of tourism with local land use and the environment.

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Claiming the High Ground: Sherpas, Subsistence and Environmental Change in the Highest Himalayas

Display : 25 50 Previous record Next record. Actions Tools Choose a colour. The historical evolution of Sherpa cultural ecology and land use is described with particular attention to the possibly deleterious effects of recent Mount Everest tourism in the Khumba area of Nepal.

The study emphasizes the efforts of farmers, other land users and resource-management institutions Claiming the high ground: sherpas, subsistence, and environmental change in the highest Himalaya. Abstract : The historical evolution evolution Subject Category: Natural Processes see more details of Sherpa cultural ecology ecology Subject Category: Disciplines, Occupations and Industries see more details and land use land use Subject Category: Miscellaneous see more details is described with particular attention to the possibly deleterious effects effects Subject Category: Properties see more details of recent Mount Everest tourism tourism Subject Category: Activities see more details in the Khumba area of Nepal nepal Subject Category: Geographic Entities see more details.

The study emphasizes the efforts of farmers farmers Subject Category: People Groups see more details , other land users and resource-management institutions institutions Subject Category: Institutions and Organisations see more details to attune land use to their perception of environmental conditions and risks and to seize specific seasonal and altitudinal land-use opportunities. Oral history history Subject Category: Disciplines, Occupations and Industries see more details , as brought to light in extensive interviews, was essential to an understanding of both adaptation and environmental transformation transformation Subject Category: Miscellaneous see more details.

It was found that major changes in the subsistence economy have occurred for generations rather than in the tourism era alone and that despite recent economic transformation, Sherpas also continue to maintain old adaptive strategies. However, tourism has had several effects: 1 increased pressure on fuelwood fuelwood Subject Category: Commodities and Products see more details resources; 2 increased grazing intensity grazing intensity Subject Category: Miscellaneous see more details due to increased numbers of pack animals; and 3 the so-called garbage trail to Mount Everest.

The Sagarmatha National Park was established in to protect the Khumba area. It is concluded that earlier reports of environmental degradation environmental degradation Subject Category: Miscellaneous see more details were overdramatic, but litter-clearing operations, improved livestock livestock Subject Category: Organism Groups see more details management planning, and the restoration of communal forest management forest management Subject Category: Disciplines, Occupations and Industries see more details institutions should be studied and implemented urgently to achieve a better integration of tourism with local land use and the environment.

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Print citation. For the next three or four months families camp out in the tiny herding huts and resa, moving from pasture to pasture according to their own whims and perceptions of pasture conditions. These high country months are a time of the year that many look forward to eagerly, a time of green slopes sparkling with wildflowers, crystal mornings beneath the great peaks, plentiful milk and yoghurt, and, best of all for many people, freedom from the gossip, factionalism, and social demands of village.

Up in the high-herding settlements there is time for life to revolve around one's own family and those of a very few neighbors.


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Once beyond the border of the closed zone a family may set up its base wherever it chooses and some families go little further the entire summer. Only in the Imja Khola area does anything other than family decision making dictate any particular structure to the rest of the summer's movements. Here the operation of another livestock-exclosure zone closes a large area of good grazing ground after the Yerchang festival one month after Dumje.

Most herders tend to herd in this zone until it is closed and usually base at this time in the settlement where they will celebrate the festival. Family custom and preferences for whom they want as neighbors at the festival have a good deal to do with the choice of site. In most of Khumbu Yerchang is a major event combining communal rituals with an intense period of socializing.

All the members of a herding settlement, regardless of home village affiliation or clan, gather together to offer prayers to the great god Khumbu Yul Lla and the other deities of Khumbu. These rites include the dedication of torma consecrated flour and butter images representing the livestock associated with Khumbu Yul Lha: yak, sheep, and goat. At this time some families may make some of their livestock chetar , dedicated to the gods, and these animals are hence forever free of the threat of being killed by humans.

Each family in the settlement hosts a party at its hut. One party takes place each day until the round is completed.

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The celebration of Yerchang thus marks one of the most intensive communal periods of the year, a time of major interaction with a few families in shared ritual, feasting, drinking and dancing. Yerchang is only carried out at certain high-herding settlements, and families choose where they want to celebrate it largely on the basis of the people with whom they want to share the festival.


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  • Most families return to the same place each year making this one of the few fixed points in the pastoral calendar. Herders in most of Khumbu may simply remain where they are after Yerchang since no further livestock exclosures are implemented. Many families in these areas, however, shift base, generally moving farther up valley if they have places there. In the Imja Khola and Lobuche Khola areas herding families must disperse after Yerchang due to the subsequent closing of most of the Yerchang sites to grazing. For the next six weeks or more most herders in the upper Imja Khola and Lobuche Khola valleys.

    Kunde families emphasize the Tugla area in some years, for example, and in other years move to Melinang when the grass is best there. The opening of areas closed to livestock in September and October influences herd movements in all the valleys. Although no herder is obliged to move his herd into an area simply because it has been opened, in practice most herders are eager to let their stock graze areas that have been protected from grazing for as many as three months.

    Some are indeed all too eager, and nawa are kept busy issuing reprimands to those whose stock violate the final days of the grazing ban.

    In each valley several zones are sequentially opened and livestock accordingly move down valley in several stages, all of which takes place within a two- or three-week period between late September and mid-October. Usually each zone is opened first for grass cutting and a flurry of activity then takes place as hay is harvested and wild grass cut.

    Claiming The High Ground: Sherpas, Subsistence And Environmental Change In The Highest Himalaya

    Zones where there are also agricultural sites are next opened for harvesting, and only then are livestock permitted to enter them. In the Bhote Kosi and Dudh Kosi valleys there are, or recently were in the case of Thamicho, fewer stages in the down-valley pastoral migration than in the Imja Khola valley. In the Dudh Kosi valley Tarnga was opened first, then all the area down to the bridge below Thami Og, and finally the lower valley.