Story

Climate Change Takes a Toll on Algerian Sheepherding

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Shepherds in the valleys of the Aurès Mountain region of Algeria are facing higher temperatures and decreased rainfall, and these climate changes are cutting into their profits. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

Shepherds in the valleys of the Aurès Mountain region of Algeria are facing higher temperatures and decreased rainfall, and these climate changes are cutting into their profits. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

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Ousama Chergui, 21, said he appreciates herding because it keeps him out of trouble, but other young herders interviewed hoped to find work elsewhere. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

Ousama Chergui, 21, said he appreciates herding because it keeps him out of trouble, but other young herders interviewed hoped to find work elsewhere. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

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Azooz Ezzeen, 66, rides his motorbike outside his farm. Due to climate change, his children have chosen career paths outside of farming and sheepherding. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

Azooz Ezzeen, 66, rides his motorbike outside his farm. Due to climate change, his children have chosen career paths outside of farming and sheepherding. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

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Herders are limiting the size of their flocks as a way to manage increasing costs due to climate change. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

Herders are limiting the size of their flocks as a way to manage increasing costs due to climate change. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

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As a way to increase profits, Mourad Chergui decided to grow fruits and vegetables (in addition to raising his sheep) using a drip irrigation practice that he read about online. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

As a way to increase profits, Mourad Chergui decided to grow fruits and vegetables (in addition to raising his sheep) using a drip irrigation practice that he read about online. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

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Crops like wheat and barley have been grown and harvested traditionally for generations in the Aurès Mountains. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

Crops like wheat and barley have been grown and harvested traditionally for generations in the Aurès Mountains. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

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A guard dog for the Ghodbane family farm takes a rest from the afternoon heat in his dog house. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

A guard dog for the Ghodbane family farm takes a rest from the afternoon heat in his dog house. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

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Shepherd Shareef BouAziz brings his herd to water troughs near his home for a midday break from grazing. Herders use shared water resources with neighbors as a way to deal with drought. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

Shepherd Shareef BouAziz brings his herd to water troughs near his home for a midday break from grazing. Herders use shared water resources with neighbors as a way to deal with drought. Image by Yasmin Bendaas. Algeria, 2016.

The semi-arid region of mountains and valleys in the northeastern part of Algeria, less than 200 miles from the Tunisian border and about 100 miles south of Algeria's Mediterranean coast, faces rising temperatures and decreased rainfall. These climate changes affect traditional sheepherding practices, and small-scale herders are struggling to maintain their profits. In response, shepherds are implementing mitigation strategies, like limiting flock sizes and using shared water resources, to sustain their livelihoods.