Pastoralism is an adaptation to risk. In Africa, pastoralism emerged 5000 years ago as sedentary cultivators responded to the increasing uncertainty of their environment in the face of climate change. Pastoralism continues to survive, despite many constraints on its adaptive capacity and the many negative perceptions about pastoralism. Risk and vulnerability in pastoral landscapes arise from many factors such as drought, market fluctuations, bans on livestock trade, violent conflict or insecurity, disease and political shocks and poverty.
World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism. 2007. Pastoralism as shrewd managers of risk and resilience in the horn of Africa. WISP Policy Brief 4. Nairobi: IUCN. http://www.celep.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/pastoralists_as_shrewd_managers_of_risk_and_resilience.pdf