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Traditional ecological knowledge-based calendar system for sustainable seasonal grazing in the Pamir Mountains

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Indigenous mountain communities are on the cutting edge of environmental threats, their responses, and the preservation of traditional knowledge that ensures the harmony between the environment and sustainable resource use. In the context of seasonal grazing, a key livelihood activity in the eastern Pamir Mountains, this study aimed to document a traditional ecological calendar-like management system and scientifically validate its effectiveness. Through an ethno-ecological survey comprising focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews, we examined the variations in seasonal grazing practices based on ecological calendars. The study quantified and evaluated the indicators' efficacy in guiding these seasonal activities by analyzing time series satellite data of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Additionally, the research assessed the potential alterations required in the future under anticipated climatic scenarios (SSP126 and SSP585) using the random forest algorithm. The findings underscored the alignment between seasonal migration patterns, grazing as the primary seasonal activity, and spatiotemporal variations in vegetation phenology. Our analysis revealed that in the future local herders may need to spend more or shorter time in pastures at different elevation compared to present because of possible change in the phenology. Our findings demonstrate the high validity of this calendar system in local resource management, and with modification it would be equally important in the future under new climatic scenarios.

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