Issue 9PASTORALISM IN DRYLAND AREAS   A case study in sub-Saharan Africa                    Comité Scientifique Français de...
Les dossiers thématiquesdu CSFD Issue 9Managing Editor                                         French Scientific Committee...
ForewordM          ank ind is now confronted w ith an issue           These Dossiers are devoted to different themes such ...
Preamble                                                             d iver sit y (of a n i ma l a nd pla nt species a nd...
It wou ld of course be of interest to rev iew t he          to economic or climatic (or other) risks and whichnutritional ...
 Transhumant herder leading his dromedary                  camels to grazing lands. Northern Senegal.4                   ...
Table of ContentsPastoralism and desertification—a controversial issue          6Pastoralism in sub-Saharan Africa        ...
Pastoralism and desertification– a controversial issue                                                                    ...
> FOCUS | Regarding land degradation                     and desertification…        From a geographical standpoint, a des...
PASTORALISM—THE FORERUNNER                                                                                 A LONG EVOLUTIO...
M-N. Favier © IRD                                                                                                Rock pai...
 A herd of small ruminants at a watering point, © B. Toutain                                                             ...
 Zebu cattle farming, Senegal.  A young shepherd and his zebu herd.  J.-J. Lemasson © IRD  Pastoralism and desertificatio...
Pastoralism in sub-Saharan AfricaSPECIFIC FEATURES OF LIVESTOCK-FARMING                             Adaptation to the en...
 Artificial ponds that serve as watering points during© A. Ickowicz                                                       ...
 Transhumance of a Fulani herd from Niger to southern Burkina Faso.             Herds returning via the Niger River Delt...
Vital herd mobilityDomest icated r umina nts worldw ide a re able to                  depending on the season and the avai...
 Everyday life in the Inner Niger Delta region. Mali.                         A herd of Fulani zebus grazing in a millet...
Herd numerical productivityThe herd offtake rate, or the number of livestock used                                         ...
SOCIOECONOMIC RELEVANCE OF PASTORALISMA system adapted to environmentswith sparse or variable natural productionPastoralis...
 A Fulani camp. The young men are away tending their herds. Northern Senegal.                                            ...
Essential social functionsPastoral livestock farming systems and transhumance—                    Socia l t ies a nd exc...
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa

4,203

Published on

Toutain B., Marty A., Bourgeot A., Ickowicz A. & Lhoste P., 2012. Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa.
Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. N°9. January 2013. CSFD/Agropolis International, Montpellier, France. 60 p.

Published in: Education
1 Comment
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
4,203
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
145
Comments
1
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa

  1. 1. Issue 9PASTORALISM IN DRYLAND AREAS A case study in sub-Saharan Africa Comité Scientifique Français de la Désertification French Scientific Committee on Desertification
  2. 2. Les dossiers thématiquesdu CSFD Issue 9Managing Editor French Scientific CommitteeRichard EscadafalChair of CSFD on DesertificationSenior scientist, IRD (Institut de Recherche pourle Développement) at CESBIO (Centre d’Études The creation in 1997 of the French Scientific Committee on DesertificationSpatiales de la Biosphère), Toulouse, France (CSFD) has met two concerns of the Ministries in charge of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. First, CSFD is striving toAuthors involve the French scientific community specialized on issues concerning Bernard Toutain, bernard.toutain@yahoo.fr desertification, land degradation, and development of arid, semiarid andAgropastoralist, ex-CIRAD (Agricultural Research subhumid areas, in generating knowledge as well as guiding and advisingfor Development, France) policymakers and stakeholders associated in this combat. Its other aim André Marty, marty.andre@free.fr is to strengthen the position of this French community within the globalSociopastoralist, ex-IRAM (Institut de recherches context. In order to meet such expectations, CSFD aims to be a drivinget d’applications des méthodes de développement, force regarding analysis and assessment, prediction and monitoring,France) information and promotion. Within French delegations, CSFD also takes part in the various statutory meetings of organs of the United Nations André Bourgeot, bourgeot@ehess.fr Convention to Combat Desertification: Conference of the Parties (CoP),Anthropologist, CNRS (Centre National de la Committee on Science and Technology (CST) and the Committee forRecherche Scientifique, France) the Review of the Implementation of the Convention. It also participates Alexandre Ickowicz, alexandre.ickowicz@cirad.fr in meetings of European and international scope. It puts forwardLivestock Scientist, CIRAD (Agricultural Research recommendations on the development of drylands in relation with civilfor Development, France) society and the media, while cooperating with the DeserNet International Philippe Lhoste, lhosteph@orange.fr (DNI) network.Livestock Scientist, ex-CIRAD (Agricultural Researchfor Development, France) CSFD includes a score of members and a President, who are appointed intuitu personae by the Ministry for Higher Education and Research,Contributors and come from various specialities of the main relevant institutions and Véronique Ancey, Socioeconomist of Pastoralism universities. CSFD is managed and hosted by the Agropolis International Issues, CIRAD Association that represents, in the French city of Montpellier and Languedoc-Roussillon region, a large scientific community specialised in Gérard Begni, Senior Expert: Environment and agriculture, food and environment of tropical and Mediterranean countries. Sustainable Development, CNES (Centre national The Committee acts as an independent advisory organ with no decision- d’études spatiales, France) making powers or legal status. Its operating budget is financed by Ronald Bellefontaine, Tropical Forester, CIRAD contributions from the French Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Ecology, Marc Bied-Charreton, Agroeconomist and Sustainable Development and Energy, as well as the French Development Geographer, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin- Agency. CSFD members participate voluntarily in its activities, as a en-Yvelines, France contribution from the Ministry for Higher Education and Research. Bernard Bonnet, Livestock Scientist, IRAM More about CSFD: Jean-Paul Chassany, Agroeconomist, ex-INRA (Institut National de la Recherche www.csf-desertification.org Agronomique, France) Antoine Cornet, Emeritus Ecologist, IRD Céline Dutilly-Diane, Livestock Production Economist, CIRAD Editing, production and distribution of Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD Michel Malagnoux, Forester/Ecologist, ex-CIRAD are fully supported by this Committee through the backing of relative French Abdrahmane Wane, Economist of Pastoralism Ministries and the French Development Agency (AFD). Issues, CIRAD Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD may be downloaded from the CommitteeScientific editing and iconography website: www.csf-desertification.orgIsabelle Amsallem, Agropolis Productions For reference: Toutain B., Marty A., Bourgeot A., Ickowicz A. & Lhoste P., 2012.info@agropolis-productions.fr Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa. Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. N°9. January 2013. CSFD/AgropolisDesign and production International, Montpellier, France. 60 p.Olivier Piau, Agropolis ProductionsTranslationDavid ManleyPhotography credits Bernard Bonnet (IRAM), Diana Rechner (INDIGO Image Library, IRD), Ibra Touré (CIRAD), Gérard De Wispelaere (ex-CIRAD), as well as theauthors of the pictures shown in this report.Printed by Les Petites Affiches (Montpellier, France)Copyright registration à parution • ISSN: 1772-69641500 copies (also available in French)© CSFD/Agropolis International, January 2013
  3. 3. ForewordM ank ind is now confronted w ith an issue These Dossiers are devoted to different themes such of worldwide concern, i.e. desertification, as global public goods, remote sensing, wind erosion, which is both a natural phenomenon and a agroecology, pastoralism, etc, in order to take stockprocess induced by human activities. Our planet and of current knowledge on these various subjects. Thenatural ecosystems have never been so degraded by goal is also to outline debates around new ideas andour presence. Long considered as a local problem, concepts, including controversial issues; to expounddesertification is now a global issue of concern to all widely used methodologies and results derived from aof us, including scientists, decision makers, citizens number of projects; and lastly to supply operational andfrom both developed and developing countries. Within academic references, addresses and useful websites.this setting, it is urgent to boost the awareness of civilsociety to convince it to get involved. People must first These Dossiers are to be broadly circulated, especiallybe given the elements necessary to better understand within the countries most affected by desertification,the desertification phenomenon and the concerns. by email, through our website, and in print. YourEveryone should have access to relevant scientific feedback and suggestions will be much appreciated!knowledge in a readily understandable language and Editing, production and distribution of Les dossiersformat. thématiques du CSFD are fully supported by this Committee thanks to the support of relevant FrenchWithin this scope, the French Scientific Committee Ministries and AFD (French Development Agency).on Desertification (CSFD) has decided to launch a The opinions expressed in these reports are endorsedseries entitled Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD, which by the Committee.is designed to provide sound scientific informationon desertification, its implications and stakes. This Richard Escadafalseries is intended for policy makers and advisers from Chair of CSFDdeveloped and developing countries, in addition to Senior scientist, IRDthe general public and scientific journalists involved Centre d’Études Spatiales de la Biosphèrein development and the environment. It also aims atproviding teachers, trainers and trainees with additionalinformation on various associated disciplinary fields.Lastly, it endeavours to help disseminate knowledge onthe combat against desertification, land degradation,and poverty to stakeholders such as representativesof professional, nongovernmental, and internationalsolidarity organisations.Pastoralisme et désertification : un sujet controversé 1
  4. 4. Preamble  d iver sit y (of a n i ma l a nd pla nt species a ndI am highly grateful to CSFD for devoting this 9th Dossier to the topic of pastoralism in sub-Saharan physiological stages); Africa and for inviting me to preface it.  tempora l aspects (a nima l g row t h rates, pla nt restoration cycles, human activity patterns).This short booklet clearly highlights the complexityof pastoral systems in a simple straightforward and Spatiotemporal mobility is one of the key conceptsunaffected way—the term ‘complex systems’ is actually concerning life in such dryland areas under irregularnot even mentioned once! However, with abundant climatic conditions. Maps—which have long beendeta i ls a nd i l lust rat ions, pastora lism is show n based on assessments and interpretations gearedto encompass soil, vegetation, animals, humans, towards the rationalization of the use of such areas,precipitation, runoff, water infiltration, complementary and on indexes such as the carrying capacity, etc.—phenological features of herbaceous plant species, are unable to account for the temporal factors! Thisannuals and perennials, shrubs and trees, knowledge, is critical because, as clearly outlined by the authors,social relationships and cultural values of human rangelands are often imbalanced, and this aspectsocieties. This is not a marginal issue—pastoral cannot be assessed on the basis of static measurements.societies occur worldwide, in sub-Saharan Africa, of A third dimension is needed to account for the diversitycourse, but also on many other continents. induced by spatial heterogeneity and temporal changes, under the aegis of dynamic knowledge, which alwaysThis pastoral world has, albeit not without difficulty, enhances the handing down, learning, testing andeluded the streamlined optimum model that has been appropriation of innovations.promoted throughout the world within the frameworkof agricultural modernization in Europe or the Green ‘Traditional’ practices are constantly, and slowlyRevolution in developing countries. This model— but surely, being adjusted to cope with unforeseenwhose fundamental assumption is the uniformization or exogenous factors because in order to last—as inand stabilization of production conditions—has all social or biological processes—it is necessary toalmost universally fostered development based on change, transform, adapt, but also to know how to resistthe genetic improvement of anima ls and plants, by inventing new things and creating the conditionsaccompanied by essential nutrient inputs (livestock required to achieve what might seem impossible !feed or fertilizer), disease and pest control products. These are good lessons to be learnt from pastoralThis model is in stark contrast with pastoralism, which societies, which are based on the mobility of people,is actually based on diversity, mobility, adapting and livestock and knowledge, and are focused more onresponding to events. The buzzwords are heterogeneity resistance than resilience since their situations areand dynamics! Achieving optimal results is not the never socially neutral. These situations are markedoverall aim—pastoralism involves trade-offs, biases by power relationships between individuals, socialand cunning that are used to come up with satisfactory groups, colonial or national administrations, NGOs,solutions. national and international institutions, etc. Pastoral communities are often marginalized—being regularlyThe question is not to determine, as the authors ranked as poor according to international criteria,suggest, whether “pastoralism is ecologically viable while also generally paying the price for agriculturalor not”! Pastoralism is not an academic discipline and and development policies—rather than being thethe problem is not to rank it within any discipline, i.e. focus of favourable public policies. The authors of thisecology. Nevertheless, we researchers will only be able Dossier nevertheless suggest several potential changesto understand this phenomenon by studying it through that could be made in these policies so as to makea diversity of approaches, including an ecological one. them less disadvantageous. Moreover, the pastoral communities may be forced to bear the consequencesIt is necessary to focus on: of international discussions aimed at promoting a dynamics (seasons, multiannual cycles); decrease in meat production and consumption, at interactions (between humans and environments, least by people in industrialized countries. Thesebetween humans and animals, between animals, initiatives specifically target ruminants—as if theybetween animals and plants, between plants when were only reared for meat production!they are subjected to grazing); 2 Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
  5. 5. It wou ld of course be of interest to rev iew t he to economic or climatic (or other) risks and whichnutritional balance of our fellow citizens, as well generate inequalities leading to poverty, i.e. inequalitiesas the ecological, energy, social and ethical costs of with respect to access to land, resources, markets,some methods for producing meat from both ruminant education and health services. These are just a fewand nonruminant animals—the latter have a better examples of areas in which pastoral societies encounterreputation in international reports, despite the fact difficulties—especially when the structuring naturethat they could be more criticized from social and of mobility, a fundamental feature, is denied: mobilityethical standpoints! Note that both small and large essential for feeding herds and people, as well as forruminants are able to graze habitats where crops social relationships between scattered groups. Factorscannot be grown due to problems of slope, elevation that force these people deeper into poverty could beor irregular rainfall. Herbivores can wander about on controlled by reversing the perverse pathways leadingtheir own when seeking plants upon which to feed— to increased inequality and vulnerability.which are made up of materials generated from solarenergy—and which in turn they transform into energy I will end by mentioning the resource issue—andfor labour for cultivation and movements, into meat, those who asked me to prepare this preamble aremilk, fiber, etc. Some ‘ecological preachers’ should look fully aware that this has been a pet concern of minecloser at these extraordinary ruminant transformers in recent years. The resources do not exist as such!a nd be more respectf ul of huma n communities They are generated by the use that is made of certainwhich have symbiotically developed throughout the environmental elements by human groups. I refer to theworld alongside these animals, especially in desert, ‘functional integrity’ concept outlined by P. Thompsonmountain and wetland regions. In short, these areas and discussed by the authors in this Dossier. Whatare considered to be too harsh for human activities may be a resource for a certain group at one time mayand are marginalized by development models based not be at another time or for another group. Foreston the control and stability of cropping and livestock uses and resources, for instance, thus vary and areproduction conditions, and thus on the settlement of variable depending on the time period, techniquesfarming activities. Pastoral societies deserve better and the needs of societies, etc. The same applies tothan the derogatory treatment they often get because systems formed by pastoralists, their animals and thethey are a constant reminder that it is possible to rangelands they utilize. The resources of these systemsstand up against the ‘forces of progress’ and that other also have immaterial yet essential aspects, such asvalue systems can turn out to be just as sustainable, herd management know-how, rangeland access andor even more so, than those that are based on proven grazing rights, herd movement rights, etc., which arescientific evidence. the main resource of pastoralism.This report shows that science is also focused on suchsituations with the aim of knowing * and gaining insight Bernard Hubertinto them, while helping concerned social groups in Research Director at the Frenchtheir contemporary transformations. In turn, it shows Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)how this is beneficial for scientific disciplines and Director of Studies at the École des hautesacademic approaches—to focus on such systems, études en sciences sociales (EHESS)to test their own certainties and thus generate new President of Agropolis International, Montpellier, Franceknowledge, questions and new avenues for research,which could be fruitful in terms of their potentialapplications and the cognitive advances that they * as highlighted by Ovid’s maxim Ignoti nulla cupido (“there is no desire forfacilitate. what is unknown”).In particular, research is required to reach beyondthe definition or categorization of poverty, which hasnever enabled a single ‘poor person’ to rise above his/her situation. It is essential to focus more on processesthat make some people more vulnerable than othersPreamble 3
  6. 6.  Transhumant herder leading his dromedary camels to grazing lands. Northern Senegal.4 © B. Toutain Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
  7. 7. Table of ContentsPastoralism and desertification—a controversial issue 6Pastoralism in sub-Saharan Africa 12Desertification and pastoral livestock herding in the Sahel 32Towards sustainable pastoralism? 44Key points in this Dossier 54For further information… 56Glossary 59List of acronyms and abbreviations 60 5
  8. 8. Pastoralism and desertification– a controversial issue  Aridification in the Sahel. A herd benefitting© A. Ickowicz from the shade of a tree, Kanem, Chad.DESERTIFICATION—LAND DEGRADATION Desertification is a major current env ironmentalIN DRYLAND AREAS issue a nd a concern for huma n societ ies, while also mobilizing policymakers in many concernedThe United Nations considers that desertification is countries. The international community began dealing“the greatest environmental challenge of our time” with the desertification problem in 1977 followingand warns that, unless political decisions are made to the recurrent droughts occurring in the Sahel. Ancombat this phenomenon, over 50 million people could internationa l conference was held in Nairobi inmigrate out of their homelands over the next decade 1977 and a programme was set up to combat the(UN, 2007). In arid, semiarid and subhumid regions *, phenomenon.the term ‘desertification’ refers to the degradation ofland quality and productivity. During this period of Due to the persistence of the phenomenon and itsrapid human population growth, especially in Africa, serious impacts, this topic took on a new politicalthe ecosystem crisis that it represents is compounded dimension during the United Nations Conferenceby the fact that potential farming areas cannot be on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiroinfinitely extended, they are subject to degradation in 1992. Chapter 12.0 of Agenda 21 adopted duringand even coveted by international powers. this conference concerned the management of fragile dryland ecosystems and the prevention of droughtDesertification is defined by the United Nations effects. Decision 12.4 stipulated that an internationalConvention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) as treaty on desertification should be drawn up. A text“land degradation in arid, semiarid and dry subhumid was written following intergovernmental negotiationsareas resulting from various factors, including climatic and then the UNCCD, which was signed in Paris invariations and human activities.” 1994, entered into force in 1996. * For West Africa: arid means annual rainfall of under 200 mm; semiarid from 200 or 250 mm to 500 or 550 mm; subhumid from 550 to 1 200 mm over a 6–8 month period. 6 Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
  9. 9. > FOCUS | Regarding land degradation and desertification… From a geographical standpoint, a deser t is an uninha b ite d a r i d a re a . D e s e r t i f i c a t i o n is the progression towards this state involving, according to the suffix –fication, the action of humans. The deser tification concept applied in this Dossier is P. Blanchon © IRD based on the assumption that it is an evolutionary process, while also allocating some responsibility to human activities. This underlines the impact of human societies on the environment but also the effects of  Camels standing beside sand dunes in the Aïr region. Niger. this degradation on societies, where land degradation encompasses both ecosystems and living organisms. Is desertification synonymous In tropical Africa, a link is almost always noted between with ‘desert encroachment’? a population increase and desertification*, whereas in temperate Europe, ‘desertification’ is interpreted The desert has a specific meaning and features for both in the sense of “the disappearance of all human geographers and ecologists. The climate is hyperarid activity in a gradually deserted (by inhabitants) region” and typical species live in this environment. A desert (Dictionnaire Robert). cannot be further desertified, but, conversely, a living environment could seemingly become a desert. What is The term ‘deser tization’ was used in the 1960s the actual situation? The discussion hereafter applies for steppeland in North Africa ( Le Houérou, 1968) only to Sahelian Africa south of the Sahara where it has pertaining to this evolution towards desert facies. been noted, on a temporal scale of the last few decades Steppelands in the nor thern Sahara show severe (around half a century overall), that the ecological degradation signs, leading to land denudation or boundaries between the Sahel and the Sahara have oversimplification of the plant community. Overgrazing apparently not substantially varied. The geographical by herds and land clearing for cultivation worsen the distribution of Saharan species has not expanded impact of climatic aridification in these areas and (except for the Saharan perennial grass Panicum it is feared that a recovery is no longer possible at turgidum, whose distribution range has extended into these stages. However, the term ‘desertization’ was the Sahelian region by seeds being carried by cattle in not used thereafter by the scientific community, at their fur), and that of Sahelian species adapted to arid least in reference to tropical countries. conditions has basically remained unchanged. These plants are good indicators of environmental conditions, It is hard to find reliable statistics on the extent and especially rainfall patterns. Moreover, remote sensing degree of desertification in the Sahel. An global satellite surveys have highlighted the variability in plant cover remote sensing assessment in 1986 indicated that according to the rainfall patterns, but without any 18% of the overall area in dryland African regions extension of the Sahara (Tucker et al., 1991). Recent south of the Sahara was degraded (Dregne, 1986). studies have even indicated an improvement in the However, field surveys often suggest that these figures vegetation cover in some regions south of the Sahara, are exaggerated. in pastoral areas, and also indicate a sharp and large- scale increase in plant biomass between 1982 and Drought is a soil moisture deficit situation in which 2003 (Herrmann et al., 2005). We therefore cannot talk human, animal and plant water needs can no longer about desert encroachment in this part of the world. be fulfilled. Drought is mentioned when this water However, advancing mobile sand dunes and silting may deficit is unusual for the climate in the area and when be observed in some regions, especially in Mauritania. it lasts long enough to be damaging. Drought differs Their cause is complex but the phenomenon cannot from aridity, which is due to low mean rainfall or a be equated with desert encroachment. scarcity of natural available water resources. For further information on this topic, see: Mainguet, 1995; Mainguet & Dumay, 2006; Berte, 2010. * Even though the expression ‘more people, less erosion’ holds true in some agricultural regions (Tiffen et al,.1994; Boyd & Slaymaker, 2000).Pastoralism and desertification—a controversial issue 7
  10. 10. PASTORALISM—THE FORERUNNER A LONG EVOLUTION SINCE ANCIENT TIMESOF DESERTIFICATION? As early as Neolithic times, A frican populationsThere are three main human factors that cause specialized in pastoral livestock farming, as illustrateddesertification (MEA, 2005): in some wall frescoes in the Sahara (Tassili). These overuse of farmland and water resources to feed a pastoralists reigned over huge grassland areas, even rapidly growing population though they were unsuitable for settled farming overharvesting of natural vegetation (excessive because of the harshness of the environment and gathering, deforestation, etc.) and its destruction scarcity of water. At the same time, to supplement by land clearing their diversified diets and gain access to other staples, overgrazing of vegetation by herds, thus reducing herders practiced hunting and gathering while also rangeland production and natural reproduction of developing trade with other farming people. The many forage trees. climate changed in the Sahara and in and in sub- Saharan Africa. Livestock farmers were forced to moveThe present Dossier is focused on this third factor— to find habitats suitable for their activity, while eachthe role of livestock farming—and is limited to one time tailoring their lifestyle and production to thelarge region in the world where pastoralism * is still prevailing conditions.one of the main economic activ ities, i.e. dr ylandtropical West and Central Africa. In pastoral areas O ver t he la st cent u r y, t he i ncred ible i ncrea seof this broad subregion, cattle are often blamed as in t he g loba l popu lat ion a lso a f fected pastora lbeing the main factor responsible for environmental environments. The dramatic political, economic anddegradation. Is this criticism warranted? This Dossier social transformations that this generated everywhereprovides some answers. were compounded, in the pastoral setting, by other substantial changes, in addition to the impact ofA review of the different types of pastoralism in the climate change, especially the increase in pressureworld highlights a surprisingly broad range of different on natural and anthropogenic environments. Thesepastoral environments, from pre-Arctic regions to changes did not alter the progress of pastoralism andtropics, mountains to plains, arid lands to swamps (see its extension into many regions worldwide. Althoughfor example Faye, 2008). The socioeconomic settings pastora lists seem to be going t hrough t he sameare also highly varied. However, some features are moves as pastoralists have since ancient times, thecomparable in the social and familial organization, in pastoral livestock-farming system has been constantlythe techniques applied, in the relationship of humans evolving—nowadays herding knowledge is passed onwith animals and of societies with other social groups. from generation to generation, but pastoralists apply and tailor it to the prevailing situation in order to be able to quickly take advantage of opportunities that arise and cope with the constraints encountered.* Terms defined in the glossary (page 59) are highlighted in blue in the text. It is a survival strategy. 20°00"O 10°00"O 0°00" 10°00"E 20°00"E 30°00"E 40°00"E 50°00"E Climatic zones 20°00"N 20°00"N Arid Humid Desert Semiarid Mountainous Subhumid 0 195 390 780 Km 10°00"N 10°00"N 20°00"O 10°00"O 0°00" 10°00"E 20°00"E 30°00"E 40°00"E 50°00"E  Climatic zoning of dry regions in sub-Saharan Africa between Senegal and Somalia. I. Touré © CIRAD-PPZS Sahelian countries in West Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria • Sahelian countries in Central Africa: Chad, Cameroon Source: FAO 8 Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
  11. 11. M-N. Favier © IRD  Rock paintings in the Akakus region. Libya. > FOCUS | A few figures… The Sahelian stock is increasing, even though a downturn occurred during the severe droughts of The estimates are from various national (State statistics) 1972 and 1973. and international (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO) sources concerning the Head number (in millions) livestock-farming and pastoralism sector. However, data 10 on herds in West and Central Africa are not precise Small ruminants and are often underestimated. 7,5 Cattle Just in the 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), i.e. all countries between Cameroon and Senegal ( but excluding 5 Mauritania, Chad and the Central African Republic, where pastoral farming is widely practiced), the pastoral area, strictly speaking, covers 25% of the territory 2,5 (Ly et al., 2010). In the 1990s, pastoralism provided a living for 16% of the 35 million inhabitants in Sahelian countries alone (Bonfiglioli & Watson, 1992). 0 1966 1976 1996 2005 2009 For all of the following Sahelian countries—Mauritania,  Livestock herd patterns in Chad from 1966 to 2009 Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad—FAO (figure on page 29 shows the geographical distribution). statistics indicate the following overall livestock numbers in 2009: Sources: 1966, 1996: Ministère de l’Agriculture et de la Production animale, Chad  cattle: 39.7 million head 1976: Direction de l’Élevage, Chad  sheep: 45.8 million 2005: Wane, 2006 from FAOSTAT 2005 2009: FAOSTAT, 2011  goats: 52.4 million  camels: 5.7 million Out of this population, a high proportion is strictly pastoral, while the rest is mainly agropastoral, therefore partially pastoral, with a small share being periurban.Pastoralism and desertification—a controversial issue 9
  12. 12.  A herd of small ruminants at a watering point, © B. Toutain Ferlo, Senegalese Sahel.PASTORALISM TODAY AND TOMORROWThis Dossier aims to address some questions that The first part of this Dossier presents sub-Saharanlivestock-farming and environmental policymakers pastoral livestock-farming systems, their motivations,are currently asking: history, specific features and difficulties, along with the benefits they offer people in concerned countries. Does pastora lism—a ver y extensive economic activity—have a future? The second part is focused on interactions between How will pastoralism fare in the development of pastoralism and natural resources, especially the Sahelian countries whereas, in parallel, most global environmental impacts, while striving to differentiate increases in livestock production are the result of the real responsibilities associated with extensive the development of intensive livestock production? livestock-farming activ ities from other causes of Is the development of pastoral livestock farming degradation. in line with resource conservation objectives and current environmental concerns of societies? The third part takes a critical look at the measures What political and technical decisions should be taken or to be taken to ensure the sustainability of taken to ensure that pastoral farmers will be able to pastora lism and, for this, to strengthen pastora l sustainably maintain the services that pastoralism v iabi l it y by encou r ag i ng t he pa r t ic ipat ion of provides human societies and the environment? development policymakers, civil society, researchers How ca n pa stora l act iv it ies be or iented a nd and international supporters. supported to enable pastoral farmers to improve their living conditions? The authors of this Dossier hope that readers will be able to develop their own opinions on the relevance forThe pastoral reality gradually reveals its complexity States to maintain, defend and support pastoralism.when v iewed from a scientif ic sta ndpoint using The aim is also to clarify the terms used in discussionsspecialized tools. To come up with potential avenues to on links between pastoralism and desertification,be explored, it is necessary to take an in-depth look at which is still a controversial issue. They also want totwo areas, i.e. pastoral livestock-farming systems and shed light on possible ways for pastoralism to ensurethe degradation of pastoral areas. Understanding the efficient management of fodder resources that arerecent historical evolution and underlying dynamics, sparse, dispersed over large areas, often hard to reachespecially social links that support pastoralism, will and subject to climatic variations.help clarify the options open for legal and politicalintervention. 10 Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
  13. 13.  Zebu cattle farming, Senegal. A young shepherd and his zebu herd. J.-J. Lemasson © IRD Pastoralism and desertification—a controversial issue Pastoralisme et désertification : un sujet controversé 11
  14. 14. Pastoralism in sub-Saharan AfricaSPECIFIC FEATURES OF LIVESTOCK-FARMING  Adaptation to the env ironment: this is mainlyTECHNIQUES IN DRYLAND REGIONS adaptat ion to heat, a r id it y a nd long-d ista nce movements (camels are highly adapted in this respect).Very substantial mean interannual variability in plant It also includes the capacity to withstand periods ofbiomass production may be noted in dryland regions, feed shortages and long periods between watering,i.e. potentially over 60% in 1 year per decade, whereas even though this is only possible to the detriment ofit is 2- to 3-fold lower in subhumid and humid regions. their body mass (e.g. animals use part of the energyIn these dryland regions, the local rainfall spatial obtained by feeding just to move).distribution is also highly varied. Livestock farmers,because of the resulting uncertainty concerning the  H a r d i ne s s , i .e . t he c a p a c it y t o w it h s t a ndavailability of fodder resources, are obliged to adopt environmental variations and harsh conditions (e.g.specific livestock-farming techniques to preserve poor feed quality or exposure to certain diseases ortheir production capital, i.e. cattle and ecosystems. pests): this hardiness is the result of a long selectionPastoralism hinges on t he ma rked capacit y of process in adaptation to such environments. However, livestock farmers to make effective use of spontaneous t his goes hand-in-hand w it h t he low indiv idua lf o dder r e s ou r c e s s c at t er e d i n he t er o genou s production performances (fecundity, milk production,environments. carcass conformation), offset by the number of reared animals.The survival of livestock and the viability of pastoralsocieties in t hese rest rict ive env ironments a re Versatility: most of the reared species provide manydependent on technical management strategies, based services, such as generating high-protein foods (milk,mainly on: meat), fertilizer and energy (carrying, transport, water the choice and combination of different herbivorous pumping, animal traction). species the use of various fodder resources: herbaceous Combined herbivorous species plants, supplemented by forage supplied by trees and shrubs Livestock farmers rear one livestock species or combine the herd mobility, sometimes accompanied by the several. In this latter case, the farmer is able to take pastoralist’s family. fuller and more balanced advantage of the available environmental resources as each species taps a slightlyAdapted livestock species and breeds different feeding niche. The farmer diversifies the products and services provided by the herd. ThisDomest icated herbivorous l ivestock rea red on enhances the pastoralist’s capacity to adapt to a rangerangelands have acquired a genetic potential that is of different environmental and social conditions.especially well adapted to their grazing environmentand to this type of livestock farming. This ensures the The herd composition may also change over time.resilience and sustainability of pastoral livestock- Many livestock farmers whose herds were decimatedfarming systems. Livestock farmers form their herds by the droughts have opted to rebuild them with smallon the basis of four major combined qualities (Lhoste, ruminants—this was a marked trend in the 1980s.2007): With the return of more humid climatic conditions, herd compositions gradually shifted in favour of cattleSpecies diversity: depending on the environments (or camels in arid regions), which are more lucrative,grazed, the resources and aims of the pastoralists, culturally entrenched and prestigious.pastoral herds consist of cattle, small ruminants(goats and sheep), camels and sometimes a few horses,donkeys or hybrids. 12 Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
  15. 15.  Artificial ponds that serve as watering points during© A. Ickowicz large-scale transhumances in the Sahel, eastern Chad. > FOCUS | Cattle feeding preferences Cattle preferentially feed on grass, but supplement their Their ability to defoliate branches within their reach, diet by browsing on tree leaves (around 10%). An adult right to the tips, as well as all young plants has given 250 kg cow requires a daily ration of 6–6.5 kg of dry them a plant destroyer reputation. This reputation grass (24–26 kg of green grass). Tree leaves account is well founded but highly exaggerated in Sahelian for almost half of a sheep’s diet, but the capacity of conditions. Camels are also preferential browsers but these animals to very closely and intensively graze they can also sustain themselves by grazing on the rangelands and then to regraze the same areas can tough grasses that grow in the Sahara. degrade these lands. Goats preferentially browse on leaves (around 80%) and supplement their diet by grazing on grass. Goats Sheep Cattle 100 100 100 10 10 10 Woody plants Other grasses Legumes and other grasses Legumes Grasses 0 0 0 No Fe Ap Jn Au No Fe Ap Jn Au No Fe Ap Jn Au  Comparison of rangeland feeding patterns of goats, sheep and cattle in the dry season and rainy season at Vindou Tiengoli (Senegal), 1982–83: from November to June (from the beginning to the end of the dry season), and August (middle of the rainy season). (from Guerin et al., 1988) x-axis: month y-axis: proportion in % (log scale)Pastoralism in sub-Saharan Africa 13
  16. 16.  Transhumance of a Fulani herd from Niger to southern Burkina Faso.  Herds returning via the Niger River Delta. Mali. © B. Toutain O. Barrière © IRDA quest for better fodder scarcity of resources by increasing its feeding activity without an excessive energy expenditure. Moreover,A pastoral landscape is a heterogenous environment— when the grass is high and the biomass substantial,rangelands are complex patchworks of overlapping intake may be hampered by a low fodder quality andand more or less interdependent ecosystems, while an extended grazing time (when grass hard to graze)also being subjected to different seasonal climatic (Ickowicz & Mbaye, 2001). The pastoralist’s task isconditions. Each unit in this patchwork (of highly thus to drive the herd to the best resources at thatva riable sur face a rea) never t heless has g ra zing time, which must be done every day and accordingpotentia l, prov iding fodder of different qua lities to the season. The main way a pastoralist, stockmandepending on the type of vegetation cover and the or shepherd can orient the diet of his herd is basedseason. on herd rangeland management practices * (Diop et al., 2010; Diop et al., 2011).Each ruminant livestock species has a markedlydifferent behaviour with respect to grazings, especially Feeding livestock fodder that has been har vestedin the diet composition and depending on the season elsewhere and transported (depending on available(see figure p.13). supplies: straw, hay) or supplement feeds (oilseed cakes, cottonseeds, cereals, etc.) is seldom practicedThe daily quantity of feed ingested by a grazing animal in sub-Saharan Africa, except on a small scale anddepends on the height and mass of the available with specific objectives: lactation of females thatfodder. This intake level generally determines the produce milk for the family, work animals, weakperformance of ruminant livestock. According to animals, fattening, or in research stations or on aseveral studies, within a minimum biomass level few ranches **, etc.(around 500 kg/ha of dry matter [DM]) or a mean grassheight (around 5 cm), with variations depending on the The watering rate also differs according to the animaltype of vegetation, the animal can no longer offset a species, season and pastora lists’ practices—it is usually daily in the dr y season and can be much more spaced out during the rainy season because of the high moisture content in the fodder. In the dr y season, some cattle herders only water their animals every 2 days (or even 3) when driving them to distant rangelands. Camels can survive without drinking for a week or even longer. The presence of some relatively moist plants, such as desert gourds Citrullus colocynthis, the crucifer Schouwia thebaica or the Chenopodiaceae species Cornulaca monacantha, reduces the water needs. * On this topic in France, see the book edited by M. Meuret, 2010. Un savoir- faire de bergers. Éditions Quae, France. ** In North Africa, cereal subsidies have enabled pastoralists to provide complement feed for sheep grazing on steppelands. This has sharply boosted the herd growth rate, which is disproportionate with what would be possible  Goats browsing as high as possible on shrub when feeding on available grass, and ultimately causing intense degradation leaves (here an acacia). Burkina Faso, of the vegetation, thus worsening desertification. This practice is generally© B. Toutain Tenkodogo region. too expensive in sub-Saharan Africa where herds mainly consist of cows. 14 Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
  17. 17. Vital herd mobilityDomest icated r umina nts worldw ide a re able to depending on the season and the availability of waterdigest quite rough vegetation because of the unique and fodder resources. Seasonal mobility, especiallyphysiology of their several stomachs. They can thus transhumance, is a specific feature of pastoralism ingraze various types of vegetation, even sparse or highly response to seasonal variations in resource availabilityseasonal. When grass and shrubs are available, they and quality, which may differ depending on regions.browse the best plants and plant parts, and they also Pastoralists sometimes walk long distances (evenneed regular (basically daily) access to water. hu nd reds of k i lomet res) a longside t hei r herds every year. This f lexible mobility strateg y enablesSpat iotempora l va r iabi lit y in natura l resources pastoralists to deal with the many events that maycan lead to one- to fourfold differences in fodder arise due to the hazards they encounter along the way.availability at given sites and between years (e.g. from500 kg DM/ha to 2 t DM/ha at the same Sahelian site This resource uncertainty and mobility goes hand-in-depending on the year). Sometimes the herd just has to hand with collective access to rangelands. In harshtravel 10–20 km to find a more (or less) better situation. env ironmenta l situations, resources can thus beThis variability is more marked in semiarid than in shared over vast areas when there are temporary localsubhumid areas. Cattle must therefore always be able shortages—pastoralists thus have reciprocal access.to move to look for fodder where it is available. Notethat wild herbivores also practice different forms of For pastoralists living in sparsely populated regions,transhumance seeking the most accessible grazing this mobility also facilitates exchanges with otherresources. social groups: selling products, purchasing cereals in agricultural areas and other products for the family,In a single day, the distances travelled around a exchanging services for fertilizer or transportation,ca mp (sma l l-sca le mobi l it y) va r y substa nt ia l ly social encounters, etc. > FOCUS | Different types of pastoral mobility There are different extents of mobility: Often within the same region there is a broad range of different mobility systems that cooperate or compete  In their daily movements, the herd disperses in the for resource access. The main features of these mobility rangeland before grouping together for watering and systems are as follows: spending the night in paddocks. The wandering range  the geographical distance of movements (from a for cattle is around 10 km, or a maximum of 15 km few to several hundreds of kilometres, and even (less for small ruminants). up to 1 000 km)  the social scale of movements (shepherds alone  Transhumance, or the seasonal movement of livestock, or families) involves a change in grazing region. The herd may  fixed points and links to local communities and travel up to 800 km from its home area during some land in the usual havens occupied during the hot transhumances (in eastern Chad, central-eastern Niger). dry season For farmers that practice nomadism, the entire lineage  seasonal grazing on fodder plants and salt cures wanders with the herd. Nomadism prevails in dryland  water resources, that must be accessible to be able regions, whereby families move around with their herds to use rangelands outside of the rainy season period to take advantage of grazing opportunities and water when surface water is readily available. Well access supplies, but also sometimes to participate in markets rights are negotiated between communities during and social networks. the dry season  markets, because they have a key role in generating The extent of herd mobility is never steadfast—it is income via sales of animals and milk and in providing flexible and fluctuates according to cyclical variables. access to staple cereals and other products for From a mobility standpoint, like many other aspects, herding households differences are never clearcut and there may be many  social ties, which facilitate movements and dealing variations within the same group (tribe, lineage, family with the different problems encountered during group). transhumance.Pastoralism in sub-Saharan Africa 15
  18. 18.  Everyday life in the Inner Niger Delta region. Mali.  A herd of Fulani zebus grazing in a millet field after harvest, Burkina Faso, Dori region. O. Barrière © IRD © B. ToutainMANY SPECIFIC GOODS AND SERVICESPastoral systems enable pastoral societies to live breeds. Milk is also left for feeding the calves. Inaccording to their traditional culture and lifestyle while semiarid regions, only half of all females are lactatingalso supplying commercial networks with products at once, which is related to the quite low averageof high market value, especially high-protein foods fertility rate (associated with the diet) of around 0.5such as milk and red meat. Hence, they contribute to (one calf produced per 2 years). The age of the firstfeeding humans and supplying the substantial Sahelian parturition is more often 4–5 years old than 3 yearsexport market to more populated coastal countries. old. Cows generally give birth to three to four calvesAnimals are also a source of energy (animal draught, in their lifetime.potential use of dry dung as fuel) and fertilizer forcrops (Lhoste, 1987).  The hides and sk ins are genera lly managed by specific sectors.A variety of products These anima l products are supplemented by theMeat and milk are the main products from pastoral provision of many services:livestock farming; hides are also used:  Field fertilizer: pastoralists make direct use of animal The meat production rate of a herd depends on manure or trade it with farmers, thus enhancing theseveral parameters: the female fertility rate, juvenile fertility of crop plots around villages or camps. Dunggrowth and mortality rate, and the adult mortality rate. is produced by animals grazing in crop fields. ManureIn extensive farming systems, male cattle are often produced in night paddocks can be transported andmarketed at the age of 5 to 7 years old. The number of spread in fields. This means that there is a net transferanimals reared and the extent of area grazed offset the of fertility from rangelands to cropping areas.low levels of productivity per head. The per-hectareproduction rates of pastoral systems on collective  Animal energy supplied in different forms (mounted,rangelands are higher than those of ranching systems portage, transport, drawing water, animal draught)in USA or Australia (Breman & De Wit, 1983). Bille sometimes also represents a significant production for(in Daget & Godron, 1995) compared the per-hectare pastoral societies. Some pastoralists are specialized incattle production rate of 10 kg liveweight per year providing transport services (natron, cereals, wood).in the Borana region (East Africa) with that of 5 kgliveweight reported on ranches in northern Australia,  A facilitator of social and economic relationships, e.g.where production costs are eightfold higher. On cattle the use of available labour, mechanism for exchangemarkets, there is higher export demand for animals and transfer of goods and services, a means for socialfrom pastoral areas than for heavier animals from support or maintaining social networks.agropastoral areas. This is the situation in Chad foranimals exported to Nigeria.  A savings instrument, which is better than banking products t hat a re not ver y ava i lable in reg ions Cow milk production is limited on average to around remote from cities—selling animals is a quick way to1 l/day (0.5 –2 l) during the milk ing period. This generate cash to purchase food or consumer products,low production is due to the hardiness of Sahelian monetized services). 16 Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
  19. 19. Herd numerical productivityThe herd offtake rate, or the number of livestock used 2.0by herders as offtake yearly, is a common indicatorused to determine the productivity per animal numberof a herd. However, the ‘productivity yield in animalnumber’ of the herd, which is calculated by also 1.5 Milk quantity (l/cow/day)accounting for herd number variations (positive ornegative numerical variations), is more representativeof the actual situation. In Sahelian pastoral systems,the annual productivity yield in animal number of 1.0livestock ranges from 10 to 15% on average, but canvar y markedly depending on t he env ironmenta lconditions and the herder’s competence. 0.5Annual and interannual production variabilityIn sub-Saharan Africa, the fodder quality and abundance 0.0meet ruminant livestock feed needs during the rainy 0 25 50 75 100 Fodder moisture content (%)season and at the onset but not at the end of the dryseason. This leads to substantial seasonal variations  Daily milk production of Sahelian cows according to the fodder moisture content. From Diop et al., 2009.in livestock productivity. Milk production, which is The best grass for milk production is neither too moist (very young) nor too dryhighly correlated with feed intake, is a good indicator (end of growth cycle and straw).of the average fodder quality (see adjacent figure).There is also interannual variability, which dependson the annual rainfall pattern (see figure below). 16 0.45 B 400 A 12 0.33 C Milk prod. 300 Milk quantity (x 1 000 l) NDVI C Live weight (kg) NDVI 8 0.22 C 200 C 4 0.11 100 Age 0 0 0 91 96 2 93 95 4 91 96 6 months 1 year 18 months 2 years 30 months 3 years 42 months 4 years 54 months 5 year 9 .9 ne c. v. t. g. c. l. pt DS RS DS RS DS RS DS RS DS RS No Oc De Ju Au De Ju Se Seasonal and annual variations in mean milk production per cow in northern  General growth curve for young Sahelian male zebus reared Senegal over 6 consecutive years relative to the normalized difference on rangelands. From Guerin, 1987. vegetation index (NDVI). From Diop et al., 2009. Curve A: traditional herding on rangelands A high seasonal trend in Sahelian milk production may be noted, with a peak Curve B: with feed supplementation as of 30 months old C: compensatory growth periods centred at the onset of the dry season and enormous differences between RS: rainy season • DS: dry season years depending on the level of grass production (assessed via the NDVI index*). As the livestock liveweight also varies according to the season, the weight gain is irregular throughout an animal’s life (see above figure). However, after a shortage period and by the compensatory growth* NDVI, or the normalized difference vegetation index, is calculated using phenomenon, calves partially catch up in their weightsatellite remote sensing data and is proportional to the green vegetationarea. In dryland regions, it is related to the active plant biomass, which in gain once abundant and high nutritional quality fodderturn is highly dependent on the extent of rainfall. is available.Pastoralism in sub-Saharan Africa 17
  20. 20. SOCIOECONOMIC RELEVANCE OF PASTORALISMA system adapted to environmentswith sparse or variable natural productionPastoralism still naturally prevails in areas wherevarious favorable features make it a more advantageousoption than other production systems: (i) mixeduncultivated vegetation, that is relatively unproductive,but with substantial fodder plants, (ii) access to wateringplaces, (iii) adapted livestock (species, breeds), (iv)shepherds (with their roles in managing their herdsand practical aspects of mobile rangeland grazing).It is better adapted than any other production system(except forestry) to contrasted climatic conditionsand lands that are unsuitable for crop farming dueto infertile soils or rugged landscape. In most areas O. Barrière © IRDworldw ide, pastoralism therefore coincides w ith  Farmers and livestock farming. Mali.steppeland, mountain or barren limestone plateau Through a manure supply agreement between pastoralists and crop farmers around the village ofvegetation, and even savannas and dry forests. Wuro Neema, fields are fertilized and herds graze the harvest residue. This mutual aid situation sometimes degenerates into a conflict if the herd arrives before the end of the crop harvest.In dry tropical Africa, especially in West and Central Secondly, the indirect economic values should alsoAfrica, the recent increase in constraints to pastoralism be taken into account, some of which do not alwayshas therefore not kept it from developing and expanding, correspond to monetary exchanges:as a function of the current rapid population growth  b y pr o duc t s : h a nd m ade pr o duc t s, g at her e d rate, even in pastoral areas. s u b s t a nc e s ( g u m a r a bic , hone y, me d ic i n a l substances, etc.)An essential economic role social capital represented by technical know-how, cultural wealth and social tiesThe economic value of pastoralism should be roughly  various ecosystem services such as biodiversity,assessed: water transfers and carbon storage (Hartfield & Davies, 2006), which is now sometimes assessedFirst, the direct economic value accounts for the and pastoralists are even paid for this latter servicemeasurable and quantifiable products such as on-the- in some parts of the world, but not yet in Sahelianhoof animals, meat, milk, skins and hides. This should, countries.where possible, be supplemented by the economic costof animal draught transport and employment in the Sa hel ia n pastora l ist s — despite t hei r i mpor ta ntlivestock-farming sector. economic role in making effective use of areas where conditions are harsh—continue to cope with theCurrent statistical data give valuable clues despite quite obstacles and especially high transaction costs: longvaried degrees of accuracy. For Sahelian countries distances to travel to market their products, manya lone, t he livestock-fa r ming sector cont r ibutes livestock markets are still insufficient in some regions,significantly to the national wealth (see table below), the weight of negotiations on resource access rights,even though a slow decrease over the years may be asymmetry in transaction information, the minimalnoted. Pastoralism itself represents a major share of presence, or even absence, of financia l ser v icesthe overall livestock-farming sector (up to half). for pastoralists (e.g. microcredit and insurance). Investments on livestock-farming infrastructures (markets, veterinary stations, herd watering facilities, roads) and the modernization of practices (lorr y livestock transportation, use of telephone and internet) reduce transaction costs. Contribution of livestock farming to the agricultural gross product in Sahelian countries. Country Livestock-farming contribution (%) Country Livestock-farming contribution (%) Burkina Faso 30 Mauritania 83 Cameroon 18 Niger 36 Guinea 15 Senegal 23 Mali 32 Chad 32Source: FAOSTAT, 2009, according to the world market value of the products. 18 Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa
  21. 21.  A Fulani camp. The young men are away tending their herds. Northern Senegal. J.-J. Lemasson © IRD © B. Toutain  A M’Bororo Fulani man. Northern Cameroon. > FOCUS | A few biases and misconceptions concerning pastoralists Glorifying prejudices The common bucolic idealized Western vision of  No future: pastoralism is considered as an archaic pastoralists’ lifestyle reflects a yearning for exotism, activity derived from backward traditions, and destined space and freedom, which is far removed from the to disappear with modernization and streamlined reality of the pressures and difficulties that pastoralists livestock farming. Pastoralists are tolerated because deal with in their daily lives. Some peoples thus have they are residual. idealized reputations, for instance Touaregs (or so-called  Undisciplined: for administrators, pastoralists are ‘blue men’), with their proud mastery of the desert, or considered to be hard to control, ‘vagabonds for the the Wodaabe Fulanis, symbolizing freedom, a simple pleasure’, ‘perpetually wandering’ and elusive. They lifestyle and wandering. These glorified views reflect dodge national integration, taxpaying and conscription. a lack of understanding of the reality and constraints  Uncontrollable competition: for settled populations, that pastoralists face. transhumant farmers are considered to not respect local rules and regulations, or are viewed as invaders Demeaning prejudices and competitors. Some of these prejudices, which have been around What is the best attitude? since colonial times, are still vivid:  Inef ficiency and uselessness: pastoralists are These long-standing, unfounded and humiliating considered just as gatherers, inefficient producers prejudices have led many pastoralists to have a poor or, even worse, destroyers of nature. Pastoral livestock opinion of themselves and become marginalized. The farming is considered to be ‘contemplative’, with specificity of the lifestyle of these peoples should be pastoralists focused mainly on accumulating cattle recognized, as well as their numerical, economic and for prestige, and relatively unresponsive to progress. cultural importance.Pastoralism in sub-Saharan Africa 19
  22. 22. Essential social functionsPastoral livestock farming systems and transhumance—  Socia l t ies a nd excha nges bet ween herd i ngthe key component—are based on solid rationales community members: this involves donations in kindinherent to pastora l communities. For pastora l (animals and products) as a token of allegiance or forsocieties, pastoralism and mobility have the following services rendered, marriage dowries, inheritances,main functions: loans (especially milking cows) to needy families, and allocations to enable youths and shepherds to get set up Basic support for herding families through the and ensure their empowerment. The livestock owner’sproduction of food (milk, meat), energy (transportation, prestige is based on the animal number and quality.animal draught), exchangeable or marketable products(on-the-hoof animals, milk, processed products). This Social relationships with other, mainly agropastoral,function is based on the herd’s health and breeding communities: these mainly concern access to resourcessituation. All technical elements that foster livestock such as water, rangelands, crop residue, and donationsproductivity (veterinarian progress, networks of wells and exchanges of food products and cereals, livestock,and boreholes, anti-bushfire initiatives, livestock labour, etc.breeding, etc.) contribute to improving this function.  Ma i ntena nce a nd t ra n sfer of tech n ic a l a nd Livestock capital accumulation: a minimal number cultural knowledge: this varied know-how concernsof animals is necessary for a family to be able to live domesticated animals, livestock-farming techniques,and ensure transmission of this asset (around 20 TLUs mobility, other communities, properties and cycles[tropical livestock units] per family according to Faye, of wild plants, wild animals, environments, climate,2001, or a minimum of 3 TLUs per person, which is nonbiological resources (water, salt cures, etc.), as wellconsidered to be the poverty line in the Sahel). A as folklore, history, tales, poetry, etc. The pastoralist’ssupplementary herd helps ensure sustainability when ancestors are remembered and respected due to thedealing with the different hazards and uncertainties presence in the herd of cows that had been offeredassociated with pastoral farming systems, thus reducing by them.the vulnerability of pastoralists and enabling householdexpenditures and investments. > FOCUS | Women—pillars of pastoral families Women are the cornerstones of herding families. They generally take care of most household tasks such as cooking, getting water and fuel supplies, handicraft making, putting up and taking down tents, and packing baggage. They are also involved in herding activities such as milking, tending to weak animals and small ruminants, making butter and cheese, movements and transhumance. They often leave the household to barter © B. Toutain or sell their products in exchange for cereals or other commodities. Their children are therefore generally less subject to nutritional deficiencies than those of farmers who do not own dairy animals. Indeed, priority  Fulani women from Ferlo, Northern Senegal. is given to feeding children and pregnant and nursing women in herding families during shortage periods. Although these women have little education, they are When the men are absent, which frequently occurs still acknowledged as being better managers than during crisis periods, the women manage the family the men, especially in associative activities—they and the herd. During normal periods, they have a say often serve as treasurers in mixed-gender groups. in household decisions, depending on their experience They have a foothold in the present while transmitting and personality, but also because they own some of education and culture to the younger generations, the animals and the family tent. Women are at the despite the many changes that are taking place in heart of matrimonial alliances and social ties. pastoral societies. It is hoped that women will keep this role and position in pastoral communities because, as the Tamashek saying goes, “women, like rangelands, cannot be fenced in.” 20 Pastoralism in dryland areas. A case study in sub-Saharan Africa

×