Historically, the individual tribal characteristics of pastoral farming were based on the environments in which they lived. The environments that pastoral farmers developed in ranged from grasslands and rainforests to deserts and tundra.
Grasslands are the perfect place for a pastoral community to thrive. With an ample food source and relatively level land, animals can feed without needing to travel over hazardous terrain. The open expanse does come with its problems for the farmers; the most troublesome is keeping the herd intact. The open range meant the need for a control. These controls varied from the use of domesticated dogs to horses and banded fabric.
These areas are most suited for a nomadic people because the ease of movement allowed the herds to be moved to follow the seasonal changes in weather. Often these cultures settled in certain areas creating semi-permanent seasonal pastures. They would move between these waypoints either four times a year (in temperate zones) or several times a year in areas with wet and dry seasons. These communities raised sheep and cattle as well as chickens, turkeys, goats and donkeys.
Rainforests often provided sustenance to tribes that were just beginning to adapt a method of farming. Areas directly adjacent to rainforests were cleared for crop growth and, when they could no longer support crops, were left as grassy fields. These fields became perfect grazing land for livestock. This geographical region is consistent with the farming and irrigation first theory.
The lack of water in desert regions forced herders to keep their animals moving in search of water holes. This necessitated a nomadic lifestyle with little or no farming. Lack of vegetation often forced these people to travel between pastoral valleys and keep a close eye on regional weather trends. Movements were thus tied to the rain or seasonal runoff from snow capped mountains. Pastoral communities in desert regions consisted primarily of camels, goats and donkeys but occasionally also included chickens, yaks and sheep.
The lack of diversity in the tundra region limited pastoral communities to the raising of Reindeer. The nomadic people of the tundra regions often were combination gather herders. They also relied heavily on fishing to supplement their food supply.