This paper synthesizes research findings on contemporary mountain pastoralism in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, based on a longer review characterizing mountain agropastoralism in Central Asia. We focus here on the principal issues that have been emphasized over the past two decades in policy, programs, and projects regarding pastoralism in Central Asia's mountains. We conclude that this emphasis has largely been driven by two unproven orthodoxies about The extent and causes of pasture degradation; and The need for decentralization and pasture land privatization. The paper proposes that new research should critically assess these orthodoxies through more empirical and long-term field research. This will yield practical applications to improve conditions for Central Asian mountain pastoralists and their environment. Pursuing measures for addressing pasture degradation will require determinations of whether, where, how, and why degradation and desertification are occurring. Detailed field research is also called for on the processes and effects of decentralizing the power to allocate and manage pasture resources from national and regional state authorities to local communities, as well as on the long-term effects of privatizing pasture land.