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Biblioteca Pastoralism in Africa’s drylands

Pastoralism in Africa’s drylands

Pastoralism in Africa’s drylands

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Outubro 2018
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Pastoral livestock production is crucial to the livelihoods and the economy of Africa’s semiarid regions. It developed 7,000 years ago in response to long-tern climate change. It spread throughout Northern Africa as an adaptation to the rapidly changing and increasingly unpredictable arid climate. It is practiced in an area representing 43% of Africa’s land mass in the different regions of Africa, and in some regions it represents the dominant livelihoods system. It covers 36 countries, stretching from the Sahelian West to the rangelands of Eastern Africa and the Horn and the nomadic populations of Southern Africa, with an estimate of 268 million pastoralists.

The mobility of pastoralists exploiting the animal feed resources along different ecological zones represents a flexible response to a dry and increasingly variable environment. It allows pastoral herds to use the drier areas during the wet season and more humid areas during the dry season. It ensures pastoral livestock to access sufficient high-quality grazing and create economic value. The objectives of this report are to investigate the current situation of pastoralism and the vulnerability context in which pastoralism currently functions and to outline the policy, resilience programming, and research areas of intervention to enhance the resilience of pastoral livelihoods systems.

Scholarly views of pastoralism’s ecological impact have grown more positive since the early 1990s, when a new understanding of dryland dynamics led to the so-called new rangeland paradigm. The new rangeland paradigm represents a shift in the wider discourse on pastoralism from the earlier debates based on the “tragedy of the commons.” The new rangeland paradigm has provided a more comprehensive understanding of the drylands and shown that mobility is an appropriate strategy to exploit the natural resource base in these areas. In recent decades, the adaptability and mobility of pastoralism in relation to resource variability have been undermined by factors that are embedded in the institutional environment and policy that shape the vulnerability context of pastoralism.

The report analyzes five factors that undermine the pastoral livelihoods resilience and the implications of these factors for the viability of pastoralism.

On the basis of the analysis of vulnerability contexts that shape pastoralism, the report identifies interventions for increasing pastoral resilience.
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