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Herd composition in an Aymara community of the Peruvian Altiplano: A linear programming problem

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Abstract

A model of herd management is presented for Aymara alpaca herders in the south central Andes. Linear programming methods and subjective utility values are used to model how pastoralists choose the size of their herd and the species they raise. These decisions are modeled in light of the land and labor resources available to pastoralists, and the products Andean herders must derive from their herds (meat, wool, and dung). The model predicts typical herd size in the community of Chinchillape, and has implications for social and economic changes seen in the Andes today. Specifically, pastoralists in Chinchillape are pursuing maximizing strategies, optimizing herd value by concentrating on alpacas, and decreasing the proportion of llamas in their herd in response to expanding transportation systems. Finally, results of the models indicate that sheep are a very poor option for Andean herders. This explains the reluctance of indigenous herders to adopt sheep herding in some areas of the Andes.

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Kuznar, L.A. Herd composition in an Aymara community of the Peruvian Altiplano: A linear programming problem. Hum Ecol 19, 369–387 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00888983

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