This paper looks at the impact of the traditional and emerging institutional environment on the practice of migratory pastoralism in the Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL), a transborder region in the western Himalayas around the tri-juncture between China, India, and Nepal, where migratory pastoralists have been an important part of the traditional political economy. It develops a conceptual perspective of migratory pastoralism and its associated social?ecological base using concepts drawn from common pool resource theories. The customary patterns of migratory pastoralism are described, as are the intra and extra-regional factors that have led to its decline. Understanding the transformation in recent decades of the variables linked to the social?ecological systems of the KSL, such as the sociocultural attributes of the landscape?s communities, the rules of resource management, and the biophysical attributes of the natural resource base, is key to understanding the decline of migratory pastoralism in the landscape. Recent geopolitics, national development trajectories, changing natural resource governance schemes, community adaptation strategies, and changing cultural perceptions all come together to shape the present day vulnerability of migratory pastoralism in this landscape.