In the Pamir Mountains, which span the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, small-scale farmers and herders are key food producers. Traditionally, they have used calendars based on historical climate cues, such as first budding of a plant or the last day of snow cover, to anticipate weather patterns and coordinate planting and harvesting with seasonal cycles. These ecological calendars vary from valley to valley because they are well-tuned to small-scale elevation and geographic differences. As a result of colonialism and conflict throughout the twentieth century, ecological calendars fell out of use.
This project used both traditional and scientific knowledge to adapt the calendars for the rapidly changing climate in the region, and make them useful tools for local residents. More generally, this approach to ecological calendars provide a way to turn Earth and space science into actions that can enhance food security and overall resilience.
National Geographic took an interest in TEX’s project with the Pamir Mountains, and has recently published an article on Dr. Karim-Aly Kassam’s work with the region’s ecological calendars. Read more here!
Dr. Karim-Aly Kassam is International Professor of Environmental and Indigenous Studies in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Natural Resources and the American Indian Program.
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