High Mountain Agriculture and Changing Socionatures in Nagar, Northern Pakistan
After political reforms and the completion of the Karakoram Highway in the 1970s, farming systems in the mountains of northern Pakistan have been subject to major transformations. Among others, there has been a significant shift from subsistence agriculture to the commercial production of cash crops, while farming practices have become less important to the diversified livelihoods of the local population. At the same time, farming systems have been affected by changes in the local environment, including climate change. In a case study of Nagar district, Gilgit-Baltistan, this presentation outlines the multiple and interacting processes of local agricultural change and their relation to broader political, social, and environmental changes. By investigating the actors and factors responsible for these developments in manifold ways, the presentation highlights the importance of local contexts and the need to avoid general assumptions about ‘underlying’ or ‘overarching’ drivers of change.
About the Speaker:
Michael Spies is a postdoctoral researcher and head of the junior research group ‘TRANSECT – agrarian transformations and social ecological complexities’ at Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development in Eberswalde, Germany. He completed his PhD in Geography in 2018 at Freie Universität Berlin, focusing on the topic of agricultural change in the high mountains of northern Pakistan. His main research interests include social-ecological dynamics of farming systems, participatory approaches to natural resource management and transboundary perspectives of agrarian change in Central Asia and Pakistan – in particular in regard to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.