About this Research Topic
Throughout different landscapes of the world, “grazing” herbivores fulfill essential roles in ecology, agriculture, economies and cultures including: families, farms, and communities. Not only do livestock provide food and wealth, they also deliver ecosystem services through the roles they play in environmental composition, structure and dynamics. Grazing, as a descriptive adjective, locates herbivores within a spatial and temporal pastoral context where they naturally graze or are grazed by farmers, ranchers, shepherds etc. In many cases, however, pastoralism with the single objective of maximizing animal production and/or profit has transformed landscapes, diminishing biodiversity, reducing water and air quality, accelerating loss of soil and plant biomass, and displacing indigenous animals and people. These degenerative landscape transformations have jeopardized present and future ecosystem and societal services, breaking the natural integration of land, water, air, health, society and culture. Land-users, policy makers and societies are calling for alternative approaches to pastoral systems; a call for diversified-adaptive and integrative agro-ecological and food-pastoral-systems designs that operate across multiple scales and ‘scapes’ (e.g. thought-, social-, land-, food-, health-, wild-scapes), simultaneously. There needs to be a paradigm shift in pastoral production systems and how grazing herbivores are managed –grazed- within them, derived initially from a change in perception of how they provide wealth.
The thoughtscapes will include paradigm shifts where grazers move away from the actual archetype of pastoralism, future landscapes are re-imagined, and regenerative and sustainable management paradigms are put in place to achieve these visions. From this will come a change in collective thinking of how communities and cultures (socialscapes) perceive their relationships with pastoral lands. The landscapes are the biotic and abiotic four-dimensional domains or environments in need of nurture. Landscapes are the tables where humans and herbivores gain their nourishment, i.e. foodscapes. Foodscapes and dietary perceptions, dictate actions and reactions that are changing as developed countries grapple with diseases related to obesity, and people starve in developing countries. Societies are demanding healthscapes and nutraceutical foodscapes, and paradoxically, some are moving away from animal products. While indigenous species of animals, including humans (wildscapes), have been displaced from many of their lands by monotonic pastoralism, multifunctional pastoral systems can be designed in view of dynamic multi-scapes of the future.
The purpose of this Research Topic is to influence future mental and practical models of pastoralism in continually evolving multi-scapes. We seek a collection of papers that will cultivate such a shift in thinking towards future models of sustainable multipurpose pastoralism. The contributions will be synthesized to establish how multifunctional pastoral systems can be re-imagined and then designed in view of the integrative dynamics of sustainable future multi-scapes.
We invite rigorous conceptual and empirical contributions (syntheses, reviews and scientific papers) on the following general topics:
• Grazing thoughtscapes
• Socialscapes of grazing
• Grazing landscapes (including air, water and soilscapes)
• Grazing foodscapes (including health)
• Grazed wildscapes
• Systems design and thinking for future graziers
All contributions must be put into the framework of re-imagined or redesigned pastoralism.
Keywords: Grazing, Herbivores, Land, Sustainability, Health, Agriculture, Pastoralism
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.