2007 Volume 80 Issue 5 Pages 290-311
In many regions of the world, the livestock industry provides the only reliable means of living off the land. This paper will discuss transhumance and its multiple global varieties with a focus on transhumance in the Southern Carpathian Mountains in Romania, where the dominant form is intermediate-stationed transhumance. Historical, economic, and environmental conditions in Romania have served to keep sheep transhumance alive, even during and after the postwar Communist era. In addition to linguistic asides illustrating the importance of transhumance in Rumanian language and culture, the author analyzes the geography, history, and transhumance routes of Jina, a key center for the sheep livestock industry. Transhumance continues to influence the local economy as well as family and othernts, includin social arrangemeg traditional shepherding. The aieldwork touthor's fuches on the reasons behind the local development of transhumance. In a specific case that symbolizes the role of sheep in the local economy, the author reports that the majority of a family's income comes from the sale of sheep followed by cheese; wool is a distant third. Finally, the author suggests that transhumance of sheep prevents the development of serious erosion in otherwise erosion-prone areas that can support little beyond livestock raising. The transhumance of sheep in Romania is changing remarkably after the revolution in 1989. On the whole, transhumance is gradually declining. However, some families are expanding the scale of transhumance, while others have settled down to run stock raising operations.