By Aslam Pervez Umrani
ODI-Pastoral Development Network ; Livestock: Coping with Drought
Sustainable grazing management or land resource use is a key issue of concern in most arid and semi arid regions of the world. This challenge is particularly formidable in arid rangeland environment, because of inherent seasonal constraints, higher livestock densities and change in socio-economic conditions of pastoral communities.
The objectives of rangeland based livestock production vary with the pastoral system employed, such as nomadic, semi nomadic and sedentary systems. Ideally, stocking rates to achieve maximum profitability should also be sustainable. Rainfall fluctuations from year to year in the arid and semi-arid rangelands, make it difficult to devise perfect stocking strategies and grazing management to cope with the variability. The light stocking rates required to match average rainfall can reduce the risk of forage deficit and financial losses due to death of animals in low and average rainfall years. Nevertheless, a major challenge lies ahead to convince pastoral people about the benefits of reducing stocking rates and improving production efficiencies, in order to achieve higher livestock production, an improvement in income and less degradation of the rangeland .
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