New directions in African range management policy

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UK: Overseas Development Institute (ODI)


There is confusion arising between economic and ecological carrying capacity. If rangelands are to be successfully managed there must be devolution of power to local communities, rather than an imposition of policy. There are four possible strategies of rangeland management which can be employed as a means of countering the effects on pastoralist livelihoods of erratic food availability. Firstly there is the option of high stocking, the long term viability of which is dependent on the exploitation of other grazing area, particularly during times of drought. This is inhibited by the fact that extensive herd mobility is incompatible with ranching. The second possibility is tracking, whereby livestock owners refine their capacity to off-load or acquire stock according to forage availability. Thus, during times of shortage, the herd size is decreased through sale, reducing the risk and damage of loss through death. Connected to this is the priority of maintaining the resistance of the indigenous breeds to fluctuation in feeding. Strategy C is the supply of additional feed inputs, but this opens the possibility of supporting artificially high stock rates; its obverse is the strategy of conservative stocking, which also has the benefit of offering a disposal mechanism during drought. There is a need for close integration between the commercial and the communal sector, but this would in practice provide more benefit to the commercial sector. The question of how to prioritize the small farmers and herders during drought is not fully resolved. -from Blench and Marriage Annotated Bibliography


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Grazing, Rangelands, Livestock, Ranching, Pastoralism, Economic carrying capacity, Ecological carrying capacity, Herd size, Ecosystem Farm/Enterprise Scale


Pastoral Development Network Paper 32c