The politics of manure: Resource tenure and the agropastoral economy in Southwestern Niger

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Taylor & Francis


Disputes over manure in Southwestern Niger reveal broad strategies for natural resource control employed by farmers and herders in a transitional agropastoral economy, where resources are scarce, some traditional ethnic specializations are breaking down, and the dominant national political motif is devolution. Four themes emerge: (1) In agropastoral systems, manure offers entry to the general regional political ecology because it links the livestock and agricultural sides of the economy, as well as the economy and the resource base. (2) Where groups vie for a limited resource, all take strategic advantage of legitimizing claims, whether grounded in history, customary roles, debts owed, contracts drawn, official known, old law, new law, or law deemed likely in the future. (3) Conflicts between claimants are heightened where the state seeks to empower customary authorities but cannot define them. (4) Devolving control over natural resources might best begin not by assigning power but by defining lines of conflict and the legitimizing logic behind conflicting claims. (Heasley and Delehanty)


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Conflict, Laws and regulations, Land tenure, Manure, Pastoralism, Government, Agropastoralism, Fulani, Niger, Rural code, Zarma, Devolution, Tenure, Transitional, Agropastoral economy, Political ecology, Control, Claims, Ecosystem Farm/Enterprise Scale


Society & Natural Resources 9: 31-46