Table 2. Socioeconomic context for livestock breed management and improvement during the three study periods.

Traditional era
(before 1956)
Collective period
(1957 to 1982)
(after 1983)
Economic system
Subsistence economy Planned economy Market economy
Purposes of animal husbandry Sustain household livelihood National demands for wool, leather, meat, and dairy products
Commercial output
Mainstream discourse Adapt to nature Support national construction, modernization Modernization, ecological protection, increase herder income
Mode of animal husbandry Transhumance Transhumance supplemented with feed, primary veterinary services, and warm shelters Grazing within fenced individual grasslands, complemented by pen-raising, depending heavily on supplementary feeding, veterinary services, and warm shelters
Imported breeds None Sheep with high performance in wool production
Sheep with high performance in meat production
Government approaches to promote livestock breed improvement No governmental intervention Financial and material inputs, political mobilization, administrative command and control, central economic plans
Policy and economic incentives, propaganda
Management of improved breeds Selection within native animals, exchanges of superior animals through social networks Exotic breeding males imported, artificial insemination, increased input from outside
Exotic breeding males and females imported, increased demand for outside input
Result 1:
Livestock breeds
Diverse native breeds, well adapted to the environment Considerable loss of native genetic resources, herders resistant to improved breeds Many native genetic resources lost. Herders choose to raise improved breeds, passively or actively, under new government policies and economic incentives
Result 2: Relationship between social and ecological systems Social system embedded in the ecological system Animal husbandry began to detach from the ecological system The social system is increasingly separating from the ecological system and trying to control it.