The Pastoral Development Network represents a world-wide network of researchers, administrators and extension personnel interested in the issues of pastoralism and rangelands. Between 1976 and 1996 the PDN was managed by ODI and published regular mailings including newsletters and a wide ranging series of papers on pastoralism and related issues. There were also a number of other related publications.
Pastoral Development Network Resources
This paper is concerned with understanding cattle production in Zimbabwe's Communal Lands, in so-called communal farming systems. Although commercial offtake from Zimbabwe's communal cattle herd is low, communal farmers are productive and rational in their cattle herd management. The economic rationale for cattle ownership is firstly to provide draught power and manure for tillage and secondly to provide milk and meat for local consumption, although the role of livestock in the farming system varies significantly from one part of Zimbabwe to another.
This paper employs an historical analysis to consider some of the consequences of conflicting resource use and political friction on resource exploitation within and outside Turkana District during this century. Given this historical context, development alternatives tested to ameliorate food insecurity are reviewed.The article proposes that the stage for political conflicts, environmental degradation and food insecurity within the region was set decades ago.
This article discusses the history of land reform in Namibia. The article indicates that at the time of writing (September 1991), it is still too early to comment on the implementation of land reform in Namibia, as it has not yet begun in earnest. Land policy has yet to be detailed and ratified, the institutions for implementing land reform and settlement programmes have to be appointed and in some cases created de novo, and large sums of money have to be found.
Such is the vagary of rainfall throughout Africa's rangelands that almost all pastoral communities face cycles of good and hardship years. During good years herders increase and diversify their herds, whilst consecutive hardship years or `pastoral drought,' human and livestock disease, or livestock theft may result in large livestock losses and the consequent temporary collapse of household food production.
This document contains a collection of critical comments by experts working in the field of pastoralism with regard to several PDN papers.
In their recent paper, de Leeuw and Tothill (1990) discussed the shortcomings of estimating carrying capacity (CC) of pastoral systems in Africa. They noted the difficulty of determining available forage per animal due to high annual and spatial variability in plant production, seasonal changes in forage quantity and quality, livestock species mix, and the use of supplemental feeds.
This article suggests that communual rangeland management policies in Botswana and Zimbabwe are based on incorrect technical assumptions about the stability of semiarid rangelands, the nature of rangeland degradation, and the benefits of destocking. Consequently, inappropriate policies, stressing the need to destock and stabilise the rangelands, are pursued.Acknowledgement of the great instability but intrinsic resilience of rangeland would encourage the Governments to more favourable regard the opportunistic stocking strategies of the agro-pastoralists of the Communual Areas.
Ever since colonial administrators and western trained scientists became involved in sub-Saharan Africa in the early 20th century and were faced with the task of governing countries where livestock production was a major economic enterprise, the proper utilisation of rangelands became a major concern. While during most of the colonial era devastating epidemics (like rinderpest and pleuropneumonia) kept the growth of livestock populations in check, during the 1950s and 1960s regional campaigns of eradicating these major cattle diseases created a continuous increase in livestock numbers.
Carrying capacity (CC) is a term often talked about in relation to livestock in the communal areas (CAs). It is the source of much confusion. This discussion paper will hopefully clarify some of the issues and make the implications for the policy debate clearer. It is based on the preliminary findings of field work carried out in Zvisharane District during 1986 and 1987.
In Morocco's Western High Atlas Mountains, Berber agropastoralists are oblivious to the ideological debate over land tenure occurring in the rangeland development community. Berber producers of sheep and goats use a continuum of tenure institutions, from private ownership, to communal control, to uncontrolled, open range. Far from being ideological opposites, these different types of land tenure are complementary tools.