Presentation on theme: "P ASTORALISM, B IODIVERSITY AND C ONFLICT IN E AST A FRICA : I S B LAMING THE V ICTIM A S OLUTION Kelemework Tafere Reda, UNISA."— Presentation transcript:
P ASTORALISM, B IODIVERSITY AND C ONFLICT IN E AST A FRICA : I S B LAMING THE V ICTIM A S OLUTION Kelemework Tafere Reda, UNISA
B ACKGROUND Pastoralism as a mode of production and way of life has existed in East Africa for thousands of years There are over 200 million pastoralists across the globe, with over 180 million of them currently living in developing countries (Behnke, 2011). About 50% of the world’s pastoralists live in Africa Generally, pastoralists are people who live on animal production, which includes the raising of cattle, camels, goats, sheep and donkeys, which are used for milk, meat, transport and trade (Fratkin, 2001).
In the context of east Africa, it may refer to extremely mobile communities such as the Turkana or the agro-pastoral Karamojong, or even the transhumant but relatively settled Massai(Hesse and MacGregor, 2006). Pastoralists occupy 70% of the land of Kenya, 50% of Tanzania and 40% of Uganda, although their proportions in terms of population size are small. East African countries have rich biodiversity and natural resources, although in countries like Ethiopia the protection of such tremendous wealth has hitherto been unsatisfactory (Jacobs and Schloeder, 2001).
L IVELIHOOD AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATION East African pastoralism has direct and indirect values. The direct values include dairy production, livestock and meat supply and transport services. It also provides employment opportunities for millions of people in the dry lands, sale of hides and fibres, forest and rangeland products such as medicinal plants, construction materials and other goods (Davies and Hatfield, 2007)
Pastoralists can also earn income from such activities as ecotourism, sale of plants with medicinal values, fruits and gums, which are all associated with nature conservation. Pastoralists’ livelihood is dependent on livestock, which have not only economic value but also crucial social and cultural benefits. However, these areas are also characterised by frequent droughts, widespread livelihood insecurity and vulnerability to recurring environmental shocks (ASARECA, 2012). A large number of people often depend on government handouts and food aid from other humanitarian agencies
For many centuries pastoralism has demonstrated its resilience in the ASAL environment, which gives proof of its suitability to the ecological conditions characterising the environment (Galaty, 2013). Extensive livestock production, if properly managed, is not only one of the most viable livelihood options in Africa but also ecologically suitable to the dry lands(Behnke et al.,1993; Scoones, 1993; ILRI, 2006; UNDP, 2006; Neely et al. 2009).
At present, pastoralists’ livelihood is at stake because of several factors including expansion of commercial farms, population pressure and urban settlements, game reserves and parks, as well as migration of pastoralists due to poverty, inequality and conflict (Fratkin and Mearns, 2003). Land use dynamics and the expansion of agriculture, sedentarisation and urbanisation have led to weakening of the traditional resource management institutions, culminating in the problem of deforestation, resource depletion and conflict among multiple resource users within and outside the pastoral system. The tremendous loss of indigenous tree and grass species in the lowlands has, in turn, led to a far- reaching economic crisis and cycle of poverty and destitution in the pastoral areas (Fratkin, 2001).
P ASTORAL LAND TENURE AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT The customary rights of pastoralists include access to natural resources such as grazing land and water points as well as settlements and markets. For agro-pastoralists who combine animal husbandry with cultivation, tenure rights also encompass entitlements to farm lands and productive trees (Behnke, 2011). The traditional tenure system combines both communal and exclusive ownership. For example, grazing land is owned by the community, clan or descent group or ethnic group, while water points may be managed by a group of households who control their own agricultural farms. Secondary rights to communal resources may also be assigned to other communities (Behnke, 2011).
Hardin’s theory of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ has depicted pastoralism as economically irrational and environment unfriendly. This is a follow-up of the east African ‘cattle complex’ thesis (Herskovits, 1926) that portrayed pastoralism as an inefficient tenure system in which herders irrationally accumulate animals for social and cultural reasons to maximise individual benefits at the expense of environmental sustainability (Gomes, 2006)
However, Hardin has been criticized for confusing the concept of ‘open access’ with ‘communal access’ pastoralists have customary institutions for the management of natural resources - Putting rules and sanctions against unsustainable use of resources - Herd diversification - Seasonal mobility
S TATE POLICIES AND MARGINALISATION OF PASTORALISTS east African governments have adopted land use policies and interventions that undermine the traditional communal tenure system. Government policies and interventions have always questioned the usefulness of traditional institutions and the indigenous knowledge system for the judicious utilisation and management of diverse natural resources (ASARECA, 2012)
Central to current government pastoral land administration practices are the sedentarisation of pastoralists, expansion of commercial agriculture, large scale land investments and expansion of tourist attraction centres (game reserves, animal sanctuaries and national parks).
The attitude of farmers to communal land in the pastoral areas is such that pastoral land is often perceived as ‘no-man’s land,’ ‘idle’ or ‘unutilised’ land readily available for use by highland cultivators or investors, adding fuel to the already catastrophic state of deforestation in the Nearly 30% of global cultivated plants have their origin in the dry land areas, which are also home to a wide variety of mammals and invertebrates, as well as various flora species that are important in regulating the rainfall pattern and contribute to soil and water conservation (Niamir-Fuller, 2001)
East Africa is known for its biological diversity and variable landscapes that are home to different organisms (UNEP, 2007).The arid and semi-arid areas of east Africa are particularly rich in biodiversity According to Bonkoungou and Niamir-Fuller (2001), eight of the 25biodiversity hotspots across the world are found in the dry lands
The dry lands are also home to large numbers of wildlife with enormous local and international cultural value. For example, Ethiopia has 277 species of mammals, 626 species of birds and over varieties of plants. The numbers in Kenya and Tanzania are even higher (UNEP, 2007). Pastoralists play a significant role in maintaining food security and biodiversity. They have long years of accumulated knowledge on the protection of environmental resources, including forests and grasslands (Notenbaert et al., 2012). These resources are protected because they make up an important part of pastoral life as the source of food, medicine and animal shelter.
dynamics of climate change and productivity in those drier environments have been accompanied by conflicts of various types (McNeely, 2001). For example, as farming communities encroach into the dry lands and compete for resources creating more pressure on the ecosystem, conflict between the two groups becomes inevitable (McNeely, 2001).
In addition, the scientific discourse over the competition between biodiversity and livestock production has attracted some attention in the literature. According to some researchers (e.g.Fratkin 1997; Little, 1996; Saberwal, 1996), pastoralism as a form of land use system in the dry lands does not negatively affect wildlife populations. On the contrary, livestock production in the arid and semi- arid pastoral areas has produced favourable environments for some of the most varied savannah ecosystems across the globe. Some conservationists often saw positive links between livestock on grazing land and natural resource degradation. For example, the global assessment of soil degradation has reported that an estimated 680 million hectares of land has been severely degraded since 1945 (Oldeman, et al. 1991).
The reality, however, is that pastoralists in east Africa have successfully used management practices such as burning grasses, rotational and seasonal grazing systems to effectively deal with the ecosystem and keep the rangeland diversity(Lamprey and Waller,1990). In fact, according to ILRI (2006), a much higher level of biodiversity (in terms of availability of wildlife) can be found in some pastoral areas near parks compared to inside the parks themselves. Conservational interests can be pursued through the pastoral mode of production, as the two are not mutually exclusive but can in fact support each other, as they have already amply demonstrated in the past(ILRI 2006).
However, the mutual support and co-existence between pastoralism and biodiversity does not have continuity without a framework of a conducive policy environment and adequate investment that nurture the overlapping relations between the two land use forms (Notenbaert et al., 2012). In some east African countries such as Kenya, this direction has been pursued through a number of interventions such as securing pastoral land rights, strengthening local institutions and ecotourism investment (Flintan, 2012).
In recent decades, pastoral resilience in the ASAL regions of eastern Africa is being significantly challenged by demographic, ecological and socio- political factors. Population pressure from within both the pastoral system and its surroundings, climate change and drought occurrences as well as government policies (privatised land tenure systems, commercial agriculture and development projects) have undermined the role of customary practices that were instrumental in maintaining the ecosystem balance. Therefore, it is mandatory to set a limit on the ever- increasing population size and expansion of irregular urban settlements in the pastoral areas, as these developments will put pressure on biodiversity (Little, et al. 2008).
Deforestation, especially by non-pastoral groups, and establishment of permanent settlements have resulted in mismanagement and loss of biodiversity(Little, et al. 2008). Competition for natural resources among different groups has now become rampant and has often led to violent conflicts. As a result, the future of pastoralism and its contribution to sustainable management of resources and biodiversity conservation remains doubtful
C ONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION Conclusion Pastoralist communities are the most marginalised cultural groups in east Africa in terms of both research and development. Their mode of production and cultural way of life has been characterised by policy makers as primitive, archaic and environment-unfriendly. Contrary to such claims and perceptions, however, pastoralists have a long-standing tradition of managing their natural resources through their indigenous institutions.
Furthermore, maintaining biodiversity has been an integral part of their livelihood upon which their very existence depended for centuries. In fact, pastoralism has existed in east Africa since time immemorial as the most effective and environment-friendly production system. Biodiversity conservation and pastoralism have coexisted for many centuries and should not be considered as mutually exclusive and competitive.
despite such local efforts at the grassroots level, loss of biodiversity has occurred on a massive scale, particularly in the last few decades, as a result of drought, encroachments from neighbouring communities and inappropriate/inefficient government land use and land administration policies and practices
At present, the integrity and stamina of the customary institutions is under threat as a result of several factors. These include the dispossession of pastoral land by the state, poverty and population pressure, as well as competition for scarce land that ultimately leads to resource degradation and conflict. As pastoralists get poorer and poorer, the per capita herd size decreases and sedentary life, crop cultivation and urbanisation take place. The expansion of farming as a means of income in the traditionally pastoral areas of eastern Africa demonstrates a challenge to biodiversity conservation because of competition for land and human settlement.
RECOMMENDATIONS recognise, empower, revitalise and strengthen customary institutions through capacity-building endeavours. Land use planning and appropriate land use and land administration policies in the pastoral areas