This paper proposes that pastoralist systems are better treated, in aggregate, as a global critical infrastructure. The policy and management implications that follow are significant and differ importantly from current pastoralist policies and recommendations.
A multi-typology framework is presented, identifying the conditions under which pastoralists can be considered real-time reliability professionals in systems with mandates preventing or otherwise avoiding key events from happening.
The framework leads to a different policy-relevant counternarrative to pastoralism as understood today. Some features of the counternarrative are already known or have been researched.
The paper’s aim is to provoke further work (including case research and interactions with decisionmakers) on how robust the counternarrative is as a policy narrative for recasting today’s pastoralist policy and management interventions.