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4.1 Forces of change
4.2 Viability of systems
4.3 Analysis

The LKMS, management technologies, organizational structures, and traditional education discussed in the previous chapters have in the large part undergone changes, whether severe or insignificant, due to recent events affecting pastoralists. This chapter first discusses the different forces of change, and then focusses on the present viability of the systems: whether they have been destroyed, modified, adapted, or remained unchanged.

4.1 Forces of change

4.1.1 Colonial era
4.1.2 Post-colonial era

LKMS and pastoral systems/strategies have by and large changed because of the effects of several external events and pressures. It is difficult to pinpoint exact causes and times of change, since it has generally been a gradual process instigated by the interplay of several different factors applying pressure on the system at the same time. What follows is a short list of factors that have directly or indirectly affected the management of natural resources by the pastoralists.

4.1.1 Colonial era

Although a few agents and processes of change were already in motion before the advent of colonialism, such as droughts, and in some cases sedentarization, it was not until the colonial era that a full array of policies, ranging from taxation to pacification, began to set its mark on traditional pastoral systems. The policies of sedentarization, veterinary care, and emancipation of slaves, although intended to benefit the people, resulted in increasing livestock population and concentration around water points, with the attendant overgrazing. In addition, economic suppression and quarantines, ostensibly aimed at avoiding the spread of diseases, resulted in increasing numbers on the range as less livestock were allowed to be sold off. However, not all policies resulted in an imbalance between livestock and pastures. The policy of pacification actually resulted in the opening of pastures that were hitherto unused due to security problems, but these new pastures were usually not enough (or not in the right place) to account for the very high concentration of livestock (see BOX 4.1).

BOX 4.1

Colonial policies of sedentarization usually were not forceful but relied on incentives. For example, the British Administration in Nigeria encouraged the creation of settled Wodaabe Fulani villages, with a traditional chief in each village in charge of collecting taxes. The chiefs would vie for the most number of Fulani transhumants by trying to build villages in the best grazing lands. This resulted in local overgrazing and strain on water resources, and attracted non-Fulani farmers, which further decreased the rangelands. The Fulani say that the settled chiefs “are hobbled like a horse - but is not a horse (a symbol of) prestige?”1

Veterinary action, started as early as the 1920's, became increasingly important as funds and manpower resources were gradually added to the programme. It generally resulted in increased livestock, for example, in Sudan, where increases in livestock numbers followed the implementation of the programme first in the north, and after 1947 in the south². The emancipation of slaves, especially among the Twareg and Fulani in West Africa, also increased livestock numbers as the former slaves then started their own herds³.

Economic suppression was most avidly carried out in Kenya, as the colonial Administration tried to protect the economic competitiveness of the European ranches, and to prevent the spread of disease. For example, in 1906 the Maasai were not allowed to buy or sell livestock because the Administration feared that prices would remain low, and the Europeans would not be able to get good prices for their livestock. In addition, the Maasai were not allowed to raise Merino sheep because the Administration feared that they would then steal sheep from Europeans4. It also imposed quarantines on tribal trust herds to prevent the spread of disease, thus livestock concentration increased as sales decreased5.

But not all Colonial policies should be considered as detrimental. The policy of pacification, ie. Preventing raids and wars between pastoral groups, facilitated mobility and freed up underutilized pastures. For example, by suppressing the former Bornu Empire, and intransigent farmers in the highlands, the Colonial Administration in Nigeria allowed the Wodaabe Fulani to freely use pastures they formally avoided6. Pacification generally resulted in an increase in livestock, as recorded among the Fulani of northwestern Burkina Faso7.

Another policy that increased the imbalance between livestock and pastures was that of favoring crop cultivation, especially of private farms, and intensively managed (usually European) ranches over traditional pastoral development. Often the best lands were expropriated by the private farms and ranches, and pastoral or hunter-gatherer groups were given “tribal reserves” that were located on the more arid and infertile lands. Two policies, taxation and nationalization of land, resulted in the dismantling of traditional social control over rangelands, the first because in the process of collecting the taxes, the herders were required to remain in one place for an entire season, thus negating their traditional range management techniques, and the second because as land was nationalized the entire land tenure system was in effect annulled. Finally, there were a few cases of deliberate attempts to destroy traditional mores, practices and habits, thus undermining the entire cultural framework (see BOX 4.2).

BOX 4.2

Colonial Administrations, such as the French in West Africa, deliberately favored farmers over herders, and passed laws that favored crop expansion8. Parts of the Kafue Flats in southern Zambia were alienated by the Colonial Government for European ranches and farms, forcing some Tonga sub-tribes to overstock or try to negotiate with other sub-tribes for use of their land. The Tonga very clearly saw the root cause of overstocking as being the lack of sufficient land9. Not all ranches remained successful. For example, in 1914 in northern Nigeria, a European managed to take away some of the best grazing lands of the Wodaabe for his own ranch, but then went out of business in 192010. It is well documented that the Colonial Administration in Kenya helped Europeans to expropriate good quality rangeland from the Maasai11. Then upon seeing overstocking among the Maasai, the Administration devised the “Swynnerton Plan”, which included forceful destocking, land reclamation, commercialization and ranches12, i.e. it tried to solve the symptoms, not the cause, of the problem it had created.

Taxation often resulted in the misuse of traditional rangelands. For example, the Colonial Administration in Nigeria would force the Wodaabe to stay in one place in order to collect tax, and this would often take all wet season, thus resulting in over-concentration of livestock. Tax avoidance by the Wodaabe was as much to avoid giving money as it was to avoid ecological deterioration13. We have come to see nationalization of land as a post-colonial phenomenon, but it also occurred during the British Colonial Administration. For example, the Land and Native Rights Ordinance of Nigeria in 1916 made all lands public and under control of the Governor14, thus initiating a process by which the traditional land tenure regulations of the pastoralists eventually lost their authority.

Finally, the Colonial Administration in Kenya deliberately tried to dismantle the Maasai culture by forbidding the use of ceremonial areas, teaching farming not pastoral activities in the schools, and giving only cereals for food aid (whereas the Maasai diet consisted of only animal products). Although the Maasai resisted passively, they did gradually change, especially since the policy was continued by the post-independence Government15.

4.1.2 Post-colonial era

Although the process of change had already begun during colonial times, it picked up momentum with the 1950's and has continued to this day. The factors to be discussed below have resulted in increasing livestock numbers, decreasing rangelands, increasing sedentarization and urban influence, decreasing traditional social control over rangelands and a corresponding increase in the power of the Central Government, and an increasing income distribution gap among pastoralists, as well as between pastoralists and non-pastoralists.

Both human and livestock populations appear to have increased since the beginning of the century, although there have been temporary declines in livestock numbers due to droughts and disease epidemics. The increasing population has put strains on resource capacity16. Veterinary services have become more efficient and are able to reach more pastoralists than before, and in some cases, major epidemics have been stopped in their tracks, but they have been carried out without concerns over their environmental impact. Water development, mostly in the form of deep boreholes, but also improvement of natural ponds and creation of stockponds, has been a major programme aimed at increasing the use of underutilized rangelands and stimulating settlements. Although they have served to open up hitherto unused pastures, they have also contributed to overgrazing around the water points, because they have not been accompanied by appropriate water management structures. In some cases, the increasing practice of providing supplemental feed, often with the encouragement of Governments and Projects, has resulted in higher quality livestock, but also in increasing livestock numbers and overgrazing of rangelands (see BOX 4.3).

BOX 4.3

Although historical records on livestock and human population numbers in Africa are sometimes inadequate, most of the evidence suggests that populations have increased since the turn of the century. However, some studies, such as one in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania, state that although human population has increased, in this case since 1890, livestock numbers have not significantly increased, resulting in a decline in the people's standard of living17. Although some reports contend that the effectiveness and impact of the veterinary system has been exaggerated18, it probably has significantly contributed, in most cases, to increased livestock populations19, for example as recorded among the Fulani of northwestern Burkina Faso20. In some cases, introduction of supplemental feed to counteract shortages of forage in the dry season, has led to problems for wet season pastures. For example, the Bedouin of the coastal rangeland of Egypt, who now extensively use supplemental fodder, have increased their herds and added pressure on desert rangelands21. A similar situation has occurred in other parts of North Africa. For example, in southern Tunisia the cost of hiring herders to take animals away from the village is now more than buying commercial supplement (partly due to subsidies on supplements)22.

Water development, especially in the form of deep boreholes has almost everywhere been condemned as detrimental to the environment. In most cases the wells have been constructed with Government and International aid, without any contribution from the local beneficiaries, and without the parallel development of a well management and tenure structure. Thus they have contributed to the breakdown of traditional grazing controls23 and tenure arrangements as outsiders have come in without seeking local permission. For example, when twenty boreholes were built in Twareg territory in Niger between 1961-69, the Fulani and other Twareg clans invaded the lands24. In many cases, boreholes contributed to overgrazing around the wells, as in the Ferlo region of northern Senegal, and in the Kalahari among the Kgalagari (hunter-gatherer/pastoralists)25. In Uganda, water development in dry season pastures increased the pasture area, but also the number of livestock, and led to overgrazing of wet season pastures26. In central Somalia, the development of boreholes resulted in spontaneous settlement and a land grab of best farmlands as land became scarce, so that even those who did not want to enclose land, had to do so to prevent others from expropriating common lands first27. The Nuba in Sudan who were displaced from traditional areas due to the Jebel al-Awliya dam, were relocated around Government created boreholes. Their livestock, combined with those of outsiders, were not under any form of regulation, whether traditional or Governmental, and caused overgrazing around the wells28.

At the same time that livestock numbers, and their concentration around water points have been increasing, the amount of rangelands, especially higher quality pastures, has been decreasing due to several factors. Probably the most important factor, especially in semi-arid zones, is the expansion of farming into rangelands as farm populations increase. Although most of this expansion seems to be due to a spilling-over of farmers from adjacent farmland, it also includes the arrival of new farmers, the sedentarization of pastoralists, both partial and full, and the shortening of fallow periods. In some cases, this has been helped by Government policies that encourage cash cropping, land privatization, and development of large ranches and farms. A further policy, that of the development of National Parks and Reserves for the protection of wildlife, have in some cases taken away traditional pastoral territories. Finally, droughts (especially of the 1970's and 1980's) have put a tremendous strain on the productivity of rangeland resources, reducing their carrying capacity, making them more vulnerable to overuse, and resulting in greater concentration of livestock around water points and other high quality resources. Not all factors have led to a decrease in rangelands. As mentioned before, water development has opened up new pastures, and pacification policies have continued to open up areas previously avoided by pastoralists. However, the net effect of all these factors has probably been a decrease in range area (see BOX 4.4).

BOX 4.4

Many recent reports state that the real cause of overgrazing is the expansion of crop cultivation into rangelands, and the reluctance or inability of national Governments to reserve areas for grazing. Some examples are reported in the North African Maghreb countries (Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia)29, in the Kalahari30, and among the Kababish of northern Sudan31. This expansion is also creating conflicts between farmers and herders32. A large part of the Messeriya's wet season pasture in Sudan are being taken over by grain and oil seeds, and their dry season pasture by cotton33. In the Senegal River and Niger River valleys rice cultivators are taking over good rangelands, and herders prefer to avoid the areas rather than fight the farmers34. A similar process is affecting the smaller riverine systems, such as the Black Volta River in northwestern Burkina Faso35. The present Kenyan government's policies are to encourage crop expansion into wetter areas of the arid and semi-arid lands. As part of this policy, irrigation schemes are being encouraged, farmers are being settled in traditional pastoral territories, and land disputes are resolved in favor of farmers not herders36. For example, the II Chamus of Baringo District have lost 75% of their dry season grazing area to crop cultivation37. The Turkana of Kenya clearly perceive the Government's bias toward farming, and are increasing their sorghum cultivation so as to be in the Government's favor38.

Crop expansion has pushed herders onto less fertile land in northern Burkina Faso and fallow cycles have decreased. For example, in 1952 the ratio of fallow to cultivated land was 1:6, but in 1973 it was 1:1039. Programmes that eradicate tse tse flies to open up rangelands for pastoralists invariably bring uncontrolled invasion by farmers40. Crop expansion into pastures in Sudan actually started in the 1920's, but picked up steam with the Gezira scheme and other mechanized agricultural projects. The process continues as new lands are added to the schemes, while their tenants are increasingly city folk who hire local labourers. As a result, the Rufa'a al-Hoi, knowing that they cannot convince the Government to stop the expansion of these schemes, are trying to get them to evict relatively recent arrivals, such as the Fulani, from their pastures41.

Pastoralists have also lost some of their rangelands due to the establishment of private, large ranches, especially in East and Southern Africa. For example, in Botswana, there is now increasing gap between the rich and poor, the former being able to take advantage of Government services and laws. One such law, states that on some rangelands, anyone who invests in fences and wells can have private control of the land for 5 years. It has resulted in “beef barons” who overgraze for 5 years, in order to pay back the debts incurred on the capital investments, before handing the land back to the Government42. The Bushmen game reserve in Botswana, is ostensibly an attempt to save their land in face of ranch expansion, but it has been located in the harshest, least fertile part of the Kalahari43. However, in some cases, such as the Mambila Plateau of Nigeria, the pastoralists apparently have had adjacent land to fall back into in the face of ranch expansion44.

Another factor contributing to the decrease of rangelands is the development of national parks and game reserves, especially in East Africa. For example, the Maasai of Ngorongoro Conservation Area are being pushed into smaller range areas due to increasing populations of wildebeest, who can spread disease to cattle45. The development of Amboseli National Reserve, and Tsavo National Park in Kenya has cut off the Maasai from their dry season pastures46. Finally, several severe droughts have decreased the quantity and quality of rangelands everywhere. With increasing livestock pressure even during drought years, the long term productivity of the rangelands has probably decreased due to soil degradation.

Not all is bleak. In some cases, range areas have actually been opened up, either with water development, or pacification. The Kenyan Government has reportedly given the Gabra of northern Kenya guns for protection against insurgents and raiders. The Gabra have allocated gunmen to each herding unit and are now able to utilize pastures that were formally considered as unsafe47. However, the net effect in most countries is probably a decrease in rangelands.

Certain factors have affected the management systems and social controls that pastoralists had devised. Urban influence, especially modern education, and wage labour (in cities, mines and agro-industries) have resulted in a decrease in manpower available on the range, and a resultant change in daily range management strategies, especially to more concentration around water points (although the household economy has been partially compensated with monetary remittances from the wage earning relative). The political powers of the central Governments have increased vis-a-vis that of the periphery, and certain policies, especially land nationalization, land privatization, establishment of regional authority and “local governments”, and in some cases deliberate dessimation of an entire tribe, have all contributed to a decrease in the effectiveness of traditional social control over resource management (see BOX 4.5).

Nationalization of land has been perhaps the single most damaging factor to traditional social controls on natural resources. In one stroke, the government denied the local people exclusive access to their traditional commons, and eliminated any local responsibility for its maintenance. At the same time, most governments lack the resources to maintain the rapidly degrading commons. Nationalization of land and abrogation of tribal territorial rights has also contributed to both socio-political fragmentation and increasing claims by non-traditional users. In some cases, the establishment of local governments and their technical divisions are responses to, rather than causes, of a breakdown in traditional control of natural resources. Finally, increasing commercialization, gradual widening of market linkages, and even the presence of Projects, have helped widen the income distribution gap between rich and poor pastoralists (see BOX 4.5).

BOX 4.5

Urban influences, especially the lure of wages has resulted in changes in daily range utilization strategies. For example, Basotho boys are sent to school and men earn wages in cities, resulting in less labour available on the range, and therefore less mobility of livestock48. A similar situation is occurring in the Maghreb Countries49. Among the II Chamus of Kenya, one reason for the breakdown of the traditional range control system is that many of the adult age set (18-30 year old men) who traditionally were responsible for enforcing the grazing controls, now go to urban centers for wage labour and other non-pastoral activities50.

In many cases, the level of decision-making has been transferred from the local community to national or local governments, for example among the Turkana51. The Kikuyu in Kirinyaga District traditionally managed their forest reserves through social consensus, but now these reserves have become official “forest reserves” and administered by the Forest Department52. However, given the fact that in many cases the local community is no longer able to enforce its own traditional laws, especially with outsiders (farmers and herders) invading their lands, the local government and its technical divisions does and should have a role to play.

All too often, the Government looks at pastoral areas as a venue for increasing its national coffers, through taxation or duties on the export of animals, but rarely is this money funnelled back into pastoral development. Even the grazing reserves of northern Nigeria, proposed ostensibly to give the Fulani non-congested and non-contested pastures, are regarded as a way to increase the Government's national revenue through the payment of fees for grazing permits53. Governments have also tried to develop local administrative structures to extend their authority, and in some cases fill a local vacuum, but these attempts are largely inadequate because they do not take into account the traditional or existing socio-political organizations. For example, the Nigerian Government tried to administer the Wodaabe based on the Twareg social system, that is, dividing them into “fractions” the equivalent of which does not exist among the Wodaabe. They also put the Wodaabe and sedentary Fulani together into “groupements” often under the chieftainship of the settled Fulani, which was not received well by Wodaabe54.

In some rare cases, entire ethnic groups have been wiped out. For example, the Sakuye of northern Kenya were a small group of pastoralists, who during the 1960's “Shifta” wars got hit from both sides, by Somali separatist (who saw them as pro-Government) and by the Kenyan Army who suspected them of helping the Somali55. The case of the Dinka in present-day Sudan appears to be a similar situation, in that, as yet an unknown but large number of people are being killed by the Government forces and local Arab militia armed by the Government.

Nationalization of land has meant that all range and forest lands (i.e. non-cultivated land), are in the public domain and can be used by every citizen of the country. It has been reported that nationalization of land has contributed to forest degradation in Niger because villagers see it as the Government's responsibility to maintain and improve the natural resources56. The French Colonial Administration in Mali recognized eight tribes and their traditional territories in the Gourma Region, but after nationalization of land by the independent Malian Government, 43 independent pastoral groups have registered in the same region57.

Land privatization laws have resulted in land boundaries that often cut across pastoral routes and pastures, and generally in bitter conflicts among clans, lineages and individuals. For example, during the French Administration of Morocco, some Berbers who cooperated with the French were given private land parcels often in the traditional rangelands of other Berber sections58. In Mbeere (Kenya) land adjudication, accelerated by the national Government after Independence, has contributed to increasing cash crops, and a loss of cooperation, sharing, visiting, and other social rituals among neighbors, although it has also been an incentive for individuals to plant more trees59.

One of the effects of increasing market linkages and their extension into rural areas is that they are increasing the value of natural resources, such as land, and so increasing the pressure from outsiders and local elite to expropriate land for private use60. Pressures to overcut wood for charcoal to be sold on urban and export markets, is increasing and is the cause of major degradation of tree cover in Mbeere61. An increasing gap in incomes between the rich and the poor is gradually coming to light in many areas, for example in the Maghreb countries62 and in East Africa. For example in Kenya, some rich pastoralists are becoming absentee owners who pursue other production and investment strategies in towns and cities, and entrust their herds to hired herders63. Among the Fulani of northern Cameroon, as a household becomes richer, its younger generation moves to urban areas, necessitating hiring of poor Fulani or non-Fulani herders64. The poor household is left with less labour and is forced to forego on traditional resource management techniques. An increasing income distribution gap results in a poor class for whom short term cash needs outweigh long term production investments65.

Group ranches tend to favor those who are already economically and politically in a strong enough position to exploit it. For example among the Maasai “a spirit of capitalism seems to have displaced the formerly far more egalitarian outlook”, and the Ranch Committees which are dominated by the elite are now pushing for further sub-division of the group ranch land, in their attempt to gradually privatize the land66. Similarly in central Somalia, cooperative ranches established in the late 1970's have become vehicles for the elite to privately enclose pastureland even though it is illegal. Once a few people start to enclose land panic sets in, and a general land grab starts. However, it appears that the majority of the Somali society is against these enclosures and there are increasing instances of fence burning and other forms of retaliation67.

Although each constraining factor has been singled out for analysis, it must be stressed that most pastoral groups are faced with several factors at the same time. For example, among the Turkana the forces of change have been livestock and human population increase, veterinary care, water development without control of rangeland, sedentarization, biased development projects, crop expansion, and irrigation projects68. In Niger the French administration introduced veterinary care and boreholes (the former between 1952 and 1972, and the latter after 1960), encouraged sedentarization, out migration, crop expansion, and free access to water, with the result that livestock numbers increased, while mobility and control of rangelands decreased69. Among the Lahawin of eastern Sudan, the recent changes are: crop expansion (both rainfed and mechanized), forced settlement of pastoralists, drought, and landlessness among the poor70. The Somali traditional system of grazing controls is apparently breaking down because of: economic stratification due to export of livestock by a few to Arab countries, private expropriation of range (by building private wells, fencing and private fodder production), and monopolization of resources by a few, especially traders71. The territorial power of Moors in Mauritania is less now than before the colonial era because of pacification, slave emancipation, drought, Government interventions in local politics, and crop expansion72.

All factors combine to affect local institutions and management of natural resources. Most of these changes, especially destocking, water development, and disease control are in reality aimed at the symptoms and not the root constraints. And in many cases, Governments have imposed these external changes in the name of development, have seen traditional systems gradually disrupted, and then have accused the local people of causing problems, such as degradation and resource depletion. In other words, “we are in a position of calling the tune after having expropriated the fiddle”73.

4.2 Viability of systems

4.2.1 Descriptive knowledge
4.2.2 Management practices
4.2.3 Organization of management

All of the forces of change just discussed in one way or another affect the LKMS for natural resources devised by pastoral people. In some cases the systems have been completely destroyed, in other cases they survive in a modified form. This section discusses the survival of these systems, and their viability for future development. In this context, viability does not refer to the efficiency of a system, nor “the capability to derive a livelihood from the herd on a sustained basis”74, but to whether the techniques or systems are still capable of being used.

4.2.1 Descriptive knowledge

Descriptive LKMS seems to be gradually disappearing among most pastoralists, as the younger generation move to the urban areas or are educated in formal schools. In addition, the introduction of other materials, such as imported rice, modern medicines, cement and zinc roofing, are reducing the need for natural resources. Traditional measurement systems (especially time and weight) are also being replaced with modern ones as watches and weighing scales become more common. However, not all knowledge is equally lost. Many groups still retain much of their knowledge, and still use it at least for special purposes such as ceremonies. In general, the LKMS remains viable as long as it is being put to practical use. This also implies that it can be revived if a practical use is found for it, and if some members of the society (specialists, older generation, etc.) still retain the knowledge (see BOX 4.6).

BOX 4.6

Among the Mbeere of Kenya, ritual and ceremonial plants, and to a lesser extent traditional medicinal plants, are no longer being used, and housing is being increasingly made out of bricks and cement75. Modern educated Mbeere still retain some of the traditional natural resource knowledge, but the knowledge is fuzzy in detail and sometimes completely lost76. Young Fulani herders of northern Burkina Faso no longer know what a good pasture is77, perhaps because there are no good pastures left. Many of the traditional measurements of time, weight, etc. have changed spontaneously to modern ones, such as in Botswana78 and in Ghana79.

Not all LKMS is lost. For example, traditional healers in Somali cities still have an abundant trade, but they delegate collection of plants for medicines to apprentices, who may not attach as great an importance to the traditional rules governing appropriate harvest of plants as the older generation did80. Some traditional medicine has even made its way into modern science, such as Hagenia abyssinica, which the Amhara used for intestinal parasites, and which was also used in the 1870's for same reason in Europe81. Traditional knowledge of the value of trees and range management systems among the Pokot and Turkana of Kenya is still alive, and can form the basis of afforestation, range reseeding, and other innovations previously unknown to them82.

4.2.2 Management practices

Since livestock management (herding, watering, etc.) is very labour intensive, the availability of labour at the household level in part defines the viability of traditional grazing controls and techniques83. If labour is available, these systems persist, if not, then people find shortcuts which often result in a breakdown or modification of the systems. Labour availability on the range has generally decreased due to children being sent to formal schools, and young men leaving for salaried wages or other occupations. Fewer members of the younger generation are willing to remain pastoralist84. In some cases, the emancipation of slaves has meant that the former masters have either to herd livestock themselves or hire herders. Hired herders also work for absentee herdowners and tend to be poorer pastoralists. In general, hired herders work outside the local systems, either through choice or because of demands put on them by the herdowners, a tendency which has contributed to a breakdown of traditional range management systems. These factors tend to be more important in countries where the formal schooling system is well established in rural areas, and where a large income distribution gap exists among pastoralists (see BOX 4.7).

BOX 4.7

Among the II Chamus of Kenya, the traditional system of livestock herding is weakening because children are increasingly going to school. Thus, in the rainy season, when children are away and grass is abundant, animals are left free to graze around the homestead, which may bode ill for the future of the range85. In general, the whole concept of herding is gradually being seen by the Fulani as an onerous and thankless job, and few of the younger generation want to do it. In addition, the breakdown of patriarchal family ties, has meant less trust and cooperation between the herd owner and his herder (whether hired or not)86. Among the Wodaabe, increasing labour migration for cash incomes, has meant less labour left on the range, and more shortcuts taken in daily activities, such as going to nearby boreholes rather than digging wells87.

With the emancipation of slaves, some groups, especially the Twareg were obliged to herd their animals themselves (at which they are not very good and will often be satisfied with mediocre pastures), or hire Fulani herders88. The former Twareg slaves in turn are starting their own herds89. Herders are also being hired by rich absentee herdowners. Among the Wodaabe of Niger, poor people are hired by absentee herd-owners in exchange for milk and perhaps calves to rebuild their herd. This system is called “jokkere”. But in recent years with drought and increasing poverty, more people are hiring themselves out and competition is high, so the fee is scaled down to just milk, which is insufficient for rebuilding a herd. This strategy of temporarily becoming a hired herder to rebuild one's herd is more prevalent among the Wodaabe than the Twareg, because the traditional loan systems of the former are more rigid and based on strict rules, including having a minimum number of livestock to initiate loans. Thus the very poor have to go outside the Wodaabe system to rebuild their herd. The Twareg loan system is less rigid, and is theoretically more able to take care of the poor Twareg90, although in reality the latter tend to be ostracized and prefer to leave the pastoral system entirely to become labourers or farmers91.

Hired herders in Kenya usually operate outside the local system, and do not feel bound by its rules92. Similarly, the jokkere herders in Niger tend to care less about their master's herd than their own. For example, they will take the former to crowded boreholes, rather than dig a well, or will give less milk to the calves and take more for themselves. Other Wodaabe prefer not to cooperate in herding with a jokkere herd because of the latter's reputation for poor management. In addition, the absentee owner will often require the herder to stay close to the city so that the former can pay supervisory visits, which results in overgrazing around the city93.

Certain external factors, especially land nationalization, livestock population increase, and crop expansion, have resulted in modifications or breakdown of the range management strategies. Sojourn pastures and transit routes have often been changed, either temporarily or permanently, and traditional deferment of pastures to allow rest and regeneration of the range have been shortened or entirely dropped. Distances travelled on transhumance have generally been shortened, with more concentration around boreholes, but in many cases they tend to be accompanied by more frequent displacement around the camp. In addition, in some cases the fluidity of membership in herding units tends to increase as individual households become more concerned with finding adequate pasture than in maintaining social and kinship ties (see BOX 4.8).

BOX 4.8

In Kenya, traditional migration routes have had to be altered to accommodate the increase in livestock numbers94. Overgrazing in the sahelian part of Burkina Faso, due to increased livestock numbers and crop expansion into rangelands, has forced the Twareg and Fulani to abandon their traditional transhumance to wet season areas and to stay all year in the dry season area, causing more degradation there95. Since the 1970's drought, many Kel Adrar Twareg of Kidal (Mali) have been faced with complete disruption of their traditional grazing organization, because they have been forced to go outside their usual areas, south to Gao or north to the southern Algerian oases96. During the 1969-70 drought, the Zaghawa abandoned their traditional routes and went further south; by the end of 1970, only a few had not returned97. Given the increasing shortage of range areas, and imposition of national Government rule, the traditional strategy of invading new areas when old ones were no longer sufficient, and perhaps killing, dispossessing or absorbing the existing population in their path, is no longer feasible in the 20th century98. Similarly, the main agropastoral strategy of moving the settlement to an entirely new area after a few decades, to find fresh resources and allow the old area to rest, helped to maintain the ecological balance in the long term, but with increasing population and shortage of land is no longer a viable strategy.

In many cases, traditional deferment systems are no longer practiced or shortened due to decreasing range resources. For example, the traditional seasonal transhumance in the Algerian Steppe, that allowed the area to rest for 9-10 months, has now changed to 8-9 months rest, and has contributed to deterioration of the Steppes99. Among the Rufa'a al-Hoi of eastern Sudan, the traditional system of coordinating and deferring the southward movement until after the crop harvest of the local farmers is no longer adhered to because of decreasing resources and increasing competition among new and old pastoralists for land100. Among the Rendille and Gabra of northern Kenya, the overall trend now, especially for the former, but also for the latter, is a gradual tendency to limit the extent of movements and/or to sedentarize around water points; however, in general, they compensate for shorter distances by moving their livestock more frequently101. Among the Dinka of Kongor individual households are moving between herding units more frequently than before, as resources become more scarce, and the main criterion for choosing herding units is no longer kinship or stock friends, but pasture condition and productivity102.

The viability of other range management techniques, such as range improvements, range evaluation and monitoring, have not been discussed in reports reviewed to date. It can be surmised, however, that those techniques that involved communal action and/or deferment of range areas, are probably no longer being practiced, but the techniques used by individual households, such as range evaluation, probably are.

Social controls on range use have been greatly affected by recent events. The local sociopolitical hierarchy of chiefs and council of elders have for the most part lost much of their power and been partially replaced by an administration appointed by the central Government. Thus, they no longer have the power to enforce the traditional grazing controls and resource use regulations. However, some groups still retain power, and in some cases have been able to modify their system to meet the new constraints. Communal meetings, so effectively used in the past to discuss and devise rules, still regularly convene and are generally viable. Cooperation among herding units has generally declined, and tribal codes and rules governing transhumance movements are gradually being abandoned (see BOX 4.9). No information was found on the viability of informal rules and principles, but it can be assumed that the three fundamental rules (first come first serve, avoid areas in use or recently vacated, and keep at a good distance of others) are still being observed whenever possible.

BOX 4.9

The French Administration ostensibly recognized the traditional system of the Berbers of Morocco by placing its leaders within the Administrative bureaucracy and paying them regular wages. However, individual herders then saw that they could have recourse to the government rather than the traditional system, and ignored the latter. After independence, the Moroccan government continued the process, so that today it has coopted much of the power of the council of elders, even though the latter still formally exists. In addition, the institution of Chief of Grass appears to have disappeared103. The traditional supervisor of grazing rights (badisa) among the Tswana of Botswana disappeared 20-30 years ago because of the opening of new pastures, settlement, and commerce104. However, it has apparently been modified, since the present day “grazing managers” are modeled after them105. In northern Nigeria, the colonial system of headships among the Fulani, established for the purpose of tax collection (“jangali” cattle tax), was abolished in 1976, and the settled chiefs, who still retain their role as political leader and representatives of the settled Fulani106, no longer seem to have an incentive to care for the transhumant Fulani107.

Some groups appear to still retain their social organization. For example, even though in Lesotho land is now held in trust by the King, and the Ministry of Agriculture issues guidelines for stocking rates, the local chiefs who have to enforce these rates are reluctant to do so because they run counter to the traditional system108. Power is vested in age-groups among the Kaputiei Maasai (as among other Maasai), but when the Kenyan Government tried to establish a group ranch with them, it found that there were problems of succession in the ruling committee (the existing age-group did not want to step down) which made it difficult to implement the ranch; in other words, far from having broken down, the local socio-political system was functioning normally and well, and could not be circumvented by the Government109.

With all the changes taking place, it is surprising that traditional meetings are still being held, and they are still the venue for communal decision making. For example, among the Pokot of Kenya, the communal meetings, “kokwo”, are still held whenever needed to discuss anything of public concern, and are viable enough to be used in a project context110. In Botswana, the “kgotla” still survives, even though its power was curtailed during colonial times, and the headmen, even though old and uneducated, still command more respect than leaders of other, new, local institutions. Furthermore, it has adapted to modern needs; for example women and minorities are increasingly allowed to speak in them111.

In most cases where the social organization of a group has broken down, the systems of range management have also disappeared. In northern Nigeria, the weakening social and family ties among the Fulani has resulted in less cooperation in movements of herding units, even within an extended household112. The urban absentee owners no longer feel bound by traditional rules, and don't care about their impact on the range113. Today, collective action among the Berbers of Morocco is rare, and no single institution binds them. However, recently the Government has been trying to initiate collective action (coops, associations, etc.) by giving certain incentives, and it appears that most herders are receptive to the idea114. The breakdown of traditional grazing discipline among the Somali has meant overgrazing around wells, although the herders state that they are willing to follow traditional rules (such as centripetal grazing) if left alone115.

The Dina Code of the Macina Fulani, was never accepted by all Fulani (e.g. the Diallube refused to join), and those who didn't hastened the demise of the system by helping the Toucouleurs in their forays into the periphery of the Empire. The French Administration finally subdued the Toucouleurs and Macina between 1887 and 1903 and started the process of the breakdown of the Dina Code116. The Code also broke because many other outside players joined the scene. There are now at least eight different groups in the area: the delta Fulani agropastoralists (ex-Macina), the sahel Fulani transhumant pastoralists, the Moors, the tenants of the Office du Niger irrigation scheme, livestock traders who use the delta forage for fattening, absentee livestock owners (civil servants, merchants, and large farmers), and those Twareg who used to use the area before the Macina Empire117. Since the main objective of the Dina Code was to sedentarize the Fulani, its breakdown (and the drought) actually resulted in a resumption of transhumance and full pastoralism among many of the settled Fulani118.

In many cases, the knowledge of range principles and daily routines, and even cooperation among herding units still linger on. For example, the Europeans destroyed, pushed back, and scattered the Hottentots in South Africa, but by hiring them as herders on their ranches, they allowed the knowledge and usage of traditional range management systems to continue119. The fact that the Gabra have been issued guns by the Kenyan Government has meant more coordinated movements between herding units, and a renewal of traditional range control120. The traditional system still seems to be more intact among the Twareg of the Gourma than other Twaregs, even though they have been equally affected by slave emancipation and crop expansion; the local marabouts even fear that the lack of change may spell problems for subsistence and cohesion in the future121.

Population increase, resource depletion, and the breakdown of the traditional social system, have often meant that conservation and/or regeneration techniques for trees and shrubs have been abandoned as resource stress became more acute. For example, fast population increase and sedentarization in Kenya have meant that “traditional controls on the cutting of trees for firewood/charcoal, garden clearing, fodder for animals, and house building poles [in Kekarongole, Turkana District] were insufficient to prevent widespread forest destruction”122. Among the people of northern Burkina Faso, the traditional technique of pruning Acacia albida to aid its regeneration has given way to overuse as the pruning/lopping for browse becomes more severe. In addition, the tradition of protecting spontaneous tree generation in fields is eroding123. In most systems, browse was used only in the dry season, which meant that ingested seeds were mature and could pass unharmed through the animal's digestive tract. However, with browse and forage getting more scarce, seeds are being consumed even in the wet season, before they are mature, resulting in less chances of spontaneous regeneration of trees124.

Traditional management of wells appears in general to be still viable, as among the Borana of Kenya125, but in some cases the scale of cooperation has been reduced; for example, in Kitui District of Kenya, the traditional rotation of wells in the dry season to prevent overuse has broken down because of changes in the social structure and population increase, and communal activity now occurs only on a smaller scale126. In central Mali, among the Bambara of Kala, proportionately less wells have been built communally by the entire village as by each individual household (3 wells by the former and 29 by the latter since Independence)127. This trend is as much a result of reduced communal activity as of increasing number of rich people. In addition, the traditional systems are not being applied to the new, Government owned and/or constructed wells, since the local people believe that the Government has the responsibility for their maintenance; for example, the northern Somali do not apply their system to Government constructed wells because they are not seen as belonging to community128. Commercialization has also had its effect on the management of mineral springs and salt cures. For example, the Fulani of northern Cameroon no longer use the mineral springs as frequently and do not regulate communal use of the springs as actively as before, because the herders prefer to buy salt rather than have to pass through congested and heavily cultivated lands on their way to the springs129.

The fate of other natural resources has been similar to those above. Wild grains are being increasing collected for sale rather than home consumption, implying that the harvesting is done less frequently but on a larger scale each time, and often with destructive methods. For example, millet cultivation is now replacing the Zaghawa's dependence on wild grains (except during droughts), and the women gather them for sale during Ramadan and other special occasions130. The Twareg Kel Oulli near Gao (Mali), whose slaves frequently gathered wild grains, are now buying the grains in markets (often from their former slaves), rather than collect themselves131. Not much is known about the fate of traditional fishing systems in arid lands, but in general it appears that the Colonial establishment of fishing fees and permits, and introduction of nylon nets, have resulted in a breakdown of traditional communal control of fisheries132.

4.2.3 Organization of management

Traditional systems of pastoral production have undergone gradual change, as individual households faced with environmental and economic stress are forced to make permanent choices between production systems. Thus, in any group one finds those households who retain the old system, those that have completely abandoned it for crop cultivation, trade, wage earning, etc., and the vast majority of households that are somewhere in between (see BOX 4.10).

BOX 4.10

The Fulani who were all at one time fully pastoral, now fall into three production systems: 1) the “bororo'en” are still fully pastoral, know much more about livestock and prefer to go to large pastures far from cultivated areas, 2) the “fulbe na'l”, are agropastoralists who split herds and send the main one on transhumance, and 3) the “fulbe sire”, are settled, town folks, such as the aristocratic “torobe”, and the non-cattle-owning farmers133. Similarly, some Maasai still follow the traditional system and are untouched by modernity (such as the Maasai of Loita Highlands in Kenya, and the Maasai of the Steppe in Tanzania). Other Maasai have completely abandoned the old system, and engage primarily in crop cultivation, trade, and wage labour, or if still pastoral, then their radius of movement has decreased and they stay around boreholes or try to be included in government ranching schemes (such as the Maasai of Machakos district, Mt. Meru Highlands, etc.). These Maasai appear to have lost all vestiges of their mutual aid society and have no elder meetings and councils. But the majority of the Maasai are in between these two extremes. Their system has modified to meet new needs. For example, elders do meet, but allow the young to join; mutual aid still predominates but gradually one sees individualistic behavior; the diet is diversifying and so is the production system; and they use Government dips and veterinary services134. Wealthier Twaregs are now diversifying into real estate in cities, transport, small trade, and wages of civil servants, while the poorer remain pastoralists135.

Many of the strategies that pastoralists are now using, such as trade, crop cultivation, and wage earning, are actually historical strategies that they've always used to deal with resource stress. In the past, the stress was usually of a temporary nature (droughts passed and local overstocking was alleviated with a move to fresh areas), and these strategies were eventually abandoned136. However, in recent times, resource stress tends to linger on due to other cumulative factors, and many pastoralists find they cannot return to their pastoral system. It is an open question whether the traditional systems could be revived in their entirety if the current resource stress was relieved. An example that points to the affirmative can be found among the Rendille and Gabra of northern Kenya who after the 1960's and 1970's droughts managed to return to their pastoral system by getting livestock loans from Missionary organizations137.

The old strategy of herd maximization has remained, even in the face of resource depletion, because it is still the only way that many individual household can ensure their long term survival. It appears that the younger and richer folks, as among the Maasai138, now see other strategies, such as higher offtake, saving cash rather than livestock, and diversifying into other production systems, as necessary for survival in modern times.

The traditional strategy of stock friends, loans, gifts, and reciprocity, are still viable among some groups. For example, the “mafisa” system among the Tswana of Botswana is still practiced even among the rich owners139, although among other groups, the rich folks and those with access to cash incomes from the outside no longer have any use of these redistribution systems and prefer to avoid them140. Many Somali no longer participate in the traditional system of communal labour for watering livestock and prefer to hire workers for the task141.

The fall-back strategy of raids has been reduced drastically in recent times, and eliminated for the most part, except in parts of East Africa (see BOX 4.11). Whereas the absence of the raids has generally resulted in the opening of unused pastures, its continued presence has had the opposite effect, adding to the pressure on rangelands.

BOX 4.11

Raiding is no longer practiced among camel herding Saudi Arabian Bedouins142. Raids have disappeared in West Africa143, a fact that has apparently increased the fatalistic sense of the Fulani144. Cattle raiding, a common feature of the system of the Nyakyusa of southwest Tanzania, is no longer practiced145. But some groups still raid their neighbors. For example, in the mid-1960's, the Karamajong, forced by droughts and overgrazing, were still raiding146, the Somali recently raided some northern Kenyan tribes, and the Murle of eastern Sudan still raid the Dinka147. The Pokot and the Turkana were still raiding by the 1970's. In the past, they used spears and knives to get livestock, and considered raiding as part of the prestige and prerequisite of being a warrior, but now they use machine guns, grenades, and motor vehicles, and steal livestock for sale in urban markets, all the while remaining anonymous and more lethal148.

Traditional land tenure systems have generally eroded in recent years. In many cases, traditional boundaries are no longer respected both by members of the tribe and by outsiders. The major cause of this has been the nationalization of land by the central Government, but it alone is not a sufficient criterion. Other factors, especially crop expansion, social disintegration, increasing income gaps, and decreasing resource capacity have combined to destroy land tenure systems. Many development projects have also ignored traditional systems and have contributed to their demise. However, the breakdown of tenure rights has not been homogenous between tribes or even within tribes. In a few cases the traditional tenure system is still de facto if not de jure viable. In addition, in some cases communal tenure at the lower levels of socio-political organization may have faded, but they remain intact at higher levels (see BOX 4.12).

BOX 4.12

The traditional grazing lands in Botswana no longer survive because of laws passed by the Land Boards, which dissociated the traditional wards from their territories149. The Colonial Administration in Botswana broke the chief's stewardship over communal resources, but not his privileged position. The overall effect was to 1) destroy communal management of land, and 2) ossify the income gap at one point in time, so that the rich remained rich and the poor no longer had recourse to the traditional socio-political system150. The traditional political organization of the Twareg in northern Niger was slowly destroyed by the French Administration starting in 1916, who pushed the Twareg away from their traditional lands, segregating them from farmers with whom they had good relations, and reducing the power of the traditional leader (amenokal) to that of a tax collector, all of which destroyed their control over the range151. Their traditional territorial rights are no longer rigid and outsiders, such as the Fulani, are gradually invading it without recognizing Twareg authority152. In the Niger River delta, “de facto changes in access rights to flood plains, coupled with ambiguous national laws have contributed to an accelerated breakdown of the [traditional Dina] land tenure system.”153 The traditional system of the II Chamus is breaking down because of confusing land tenure laws, population increase, marketing, etc., although most people want to see a form of grazing regulation reinstated154. The feudal state system of the Fulani of Yatenga gradually lost its distinct territoriality with the coming of colonial power. The system no longer survives in those villages populated by a mixture of Fulani non-Fulani, or solely by the Fulani slave caste (in which case tenure is based only on usufruct rights), but the traditional system is still viable where villages are populated solely by non-slave Fulani155.

Land nationalization is only one change agent affecting traditional land tenure systems. Among the Fulani of the Sahel in general, the traditional system of dividing grazing lands among sub-tribes and lower divisions, has broken due to crop expansion, drought, and construction of boreholes156. The Somali say that territories are now blurred because of decreasing resources157. The French Administration in North Africa, in an attempt to pacify the Berbers, actually gave formal recognition of land ownership to the tribes following traditional boundaries. However, modernization (commerce, population growth, etc.) as well as Government pacification aimed at stopping raids, gradually weakened the whole social system, and resulted in resource degradation158. Furthermore, the Royal Moroccan Decree of 1969 has left the Berbers with bits and pieces of their own system plus a poor understanding of state control on the land159. However, the Berbers still recognize and respect their traditional tribal (i.e. higher level) boundaries160. In some cases, development projects have contributed to the confusion of land tenure laws. For example, in Katilu (Kenya) an irrigation scheme covers land belonging traditionally to 50 different groups, one of which are the Turkana, and as a result the majority of the resource control systems have broken down in the area161.

In some cases, the traditional tenure system still survives in fact, if not formally recognized by the Government. Among the Mbanderu Herero of northwestern Botswana, the traditional tenure of pastures at the lineage level, and range utilization rules, still survive and are a potential foundation for modern land tenure and range controls162. Among the Fulani of Mubi (Gongola State, Nigeria), the traditional chief still retains de facto power over land allocation and politics, even though the 1976 Local Government Reform Act tried to destroy it163. For some Wodaabe lineages in north/central Niger traditional geographical boundaries no longer hold, but the rest are still geographically cohesive164. During the 1960-70 drought some Zaghawa chiefs discussed a plan to relocate completely to southern pastures, but not every one agreed because they feared that the Kababish and other neighboring tribes would then take their traditional land165. In other words, even with land nationalization, the traditional tenure system is still recognized on a de facto basis. In Maasailand, the traditional territory of sections faded during the colonial era in Kenya, and with the Ujamaa policies in Tanzania, but the locality (the next higher socio-political level) still remains as the focus of communal organization166.

Land privatization has also contributed to a breakdown of those traditional tenure systems that did not recognize private wild lands. In most cases, the rich and elite have been able to take more advantage of land privatization laws than the poor. However, in some cases the socio-political system is viable enough for people to claim private lands according to their membership in the clan or lineage, thus effectively re-establishing the traditional land boundaries. In cases where the traditional system did recognize private wild lands, population increase and land sales have resulted in the fragmentation of land holdings so that they no longer coincide with traditional socio-political boundaries. In cases where privatization of communal land is illegal, people have been able to claim exclusive rights by gradually expanding the boundaries of their farmland to include both cultivated land and fallow or pastureland (see BOX 4.13).

BOX 4.13

The economic and resource control base of the traditional system among the Bedouins of coastal Egypt is breaking down due to individual ownership and control over natural resources, but the ideology of the tribe and its cultural identity and kinship bonds remain strong167, suggesting that there is a potential for reviving the resource control systems. The vagueness of common boundaries among the Mbeere of Kenya meant that there were many disputes and bitter litigations when the Government started individual land adjudication168. But in general the Kenyan people are trying to lay claim to land as close as possible to their old tribal boundaries, thus effectively re-establishing traditional boundaries169. The traditional private landholdings of the Suiei Dorobo of Kenya, used for beekeeping, are now so fragmented from population increase and sale of land to outsiders, that the traditional clan land tenure boundaries have been erased170.

Among the agropastoralists of southern Darfur (Sudan) the traditional system gave exclusive rights to certain categories of arable land. But with the increasing shortage of forage and range resources, some people are extending the fences around their farmland to include rangeland, which they claim to be for the future expansion of their farm. They then cut the forage for their own livestock, or plant forage crops for sale in urban markets. It is usually the larger herd owners who have the resources to build the thorn fences for these illegal enclosures171. Similarly, in central Somali although a part of the private enclosure is cultivated, the rest is planted with fodder crops or left as grassland for livestock172.

In almost all cases, ownership of water points remains intact, even though the grazing lands around it may no longer be controlled by the group. For example, although traditional pasture rights no longer exist among the Wodaabe of Niger, clan ownership of wells still exists, and in practice contributes to a de facto recognition of traditional grazing lands173. Government constructed water points have almost entirely been kept out of the traditional system. As a result they are open to all, and have contributed to a breakdown in the traditional resource tenure system, as among the Dinka of Kongor174. However, some people are learning to fight back (such as the Illabakan Twareg of Niger who eventually forced the Government to close down some boreholes so that they could regain their control over the land when the outsiders left the area175), while others are taking advantage of the confusion in tenure rights to the detriment of their neighbours. For example, some Somali lineages have constructed cemented hafirs with the Government's sanction in rival lineage or clan territories, leading to more confusion of grazing rights176.

Among those groups that had grazing reserves (whether for drought, regeneration, or dry season grazing), very few still are able to restrict grazing according to traditional rules. Most groups have been forced to abandon the system due to increasing resource shortage, the construction of boreholes in the reserves by the Government which then attracts outsiders, and crop expansion into the reserves. In addition, the breakdown of the socio-political system has eliminated the powers of enforcement that the leaders had (see BOX 4.14). In cases where the breakdown of the reserve has been due to resource shortage, closing off portions of the range to starving animals would be a waste, a practical impossibility, and cause further overcrowding and degradation on the remainder of the land. Other alternatives need to be found.

BOX 4.14

One group that still appears to retain its system of reserves are the people of Lesotho177. However, most groups have lost their reserves. Among the Pokot, the last time that traditional grazing reserves were closed off was in late 1930's and early 1940's178. Similarly, a colonial rotational scheme, eventually becoming the Batei grazing scheme, appeared to be working well but died in the late 1970's179. The Pokot elders complain that the Kaplelach (25-35 year generation) have become educated, refuse to follow traditional rules and want private enclosures180. In addition, with the breakdown of traditional authority, the local Pokot chief can no longer pass on the responsibility to a distant and enigmatic authority, and is often reluctant to enforce rules that involve his neighbours181. Crop cultivation is taking over the reserved areas of the Berbers of Morocco182. In addition, a series of unfortunate droughts, and a general breakdown of enforcement and respect of traditional rules has destroyed the reserve system. The majority of Berbers think that the reserves are good, but say that it is “impossible for everyone to agree to anything” these days183. Similarly, the breakdown of higher level cooperation among the Somali meant that the British Protectorate's scheme to set up grazing reserves for rest and soil conservation, were seen favorably by the people if it meant securing grazing rights for a clan, but not if it was for several clans184. Among the II Chamus, the traditional reserves broke down because of the decline of the political power of local elders, and an increase in non-pastoral activities among the young men who enforced the rules185.

Among the Luo of Kenya, the traditional reserves are breaking down due to increasing private expropriation by local farmers who are taking advantage of the Registered Land Act of 1963186. Similarly, the Maasai of Kenya are taking advantage of the group ranch programme to expropriate land on the “olopololi” reserves for lease to commercial ranches for fattening of steers. In addition, some Maasai are starting to build houses on the traditional dry season reserves. However, there are indications that local people are concerned and are even forcing these settlers to move out of the reserves187. Water development has meant that areas that were traditionally left untouched and used in drought times are now used every year188. The British Colonial Administration in Sudan tried to reserve certain hafirs and pastures in eastern Butana for the Lahawin and Shukriya, but these reservations have now lapsed189, suggesting that as long as there is no traditional basis for reserves, continual government intervention is needed to maintain them.

Sacred groves have by and large followed the same track as grazing reserves. The nationalization of land and the breakdown of traditional control over rangelands has eroded the power of the local community to prevent access to the groves by outsiders. In addition, the groves have lost their religious and mystical significance due to modern education and conversion to Christianity or Islam. However, in some cases, central Governments have successfully revived the concept of sacred groves as a way to preserve forests, and in other cases, the local community is still able to protect the groves (see BOX 4.15).

BOX 4.15

The holy places of the Gabra of Ethiopia, and the rangelands around them, are now being used in their absence by Boran pastoralists and miners of salt and quartz. The Gabra periodically have to reclaim the sites for their age-set rituals, but the non-Gabra are challenging their rights to it. In addition, these holy places now straddle national boundaries, bringing the Gabra into conflict with different Governments. Many plants and wildlife in the holy areas are reportedly disappearing due to this increase in use190. The sacred groves of Madagascar are not being respected as much as before because with modern education people no longer believe in their superstitious and mystical aspects. However, the Government of Madagascar has successfully introduced nature reserves by equating them with sacred groves (see Chapter 5).

Among the Kikuyu of Kenya, although the sacred groves no longer have the religious ceremonial importance that they had (due to the breakdown of the age-set system and religious conversion to Christianity or Islam), the Local Council in the 1930's was able to declare them protected. Recently, community sentiment has continued to protect the places as inviolable, even though they are not being used for ritual purposes anymore191. The sacred groves or rain shrines of the Tonga of Zambia were still viable in 1951192, but more recent information is not available.

4.3 Analysis

It is difficult to generalize about the viability of particular LKMS, because each group has been faced with different constraints and forces of change. In some cases, the entire system has broken down, while in other cases it survives well and is able to withstand pressure from the outside. In general, the system is no longer viable when the particular knowledge or technique on which it is based is no longer used, and when only a very few members of the community retain the knowledge. Where the traditional social system has broken down, all management techniques and systems concerned with communal action, such as grazing reserves, deferment schemes and improvement techniques, are no longer being coordinated among the members of the group. But groups also differ in their desire to reinstate the rules. For example the Somali and Berbers express their willingness to do so, while the Pokot think it would be a futile effort.

Another difficulty is that rapid social and environmental change is continually affecting the viability of traditional systems193. What we conclude now about a particular group may not be valid a year from now. Therefore, how can development workers assess the viability of techniques they may be interested in using? Perhaps local institutions should be replaced only when they are shown to be ineffective and unadaptable194. In other words, only by attempting to use or revive it will we know if a system is truly viable. A predictive model or framework may be able to guide the development worker, but the final decision must be taken on the basis of experience in each particular place. Similarly, whether the local institutions can handle the increased authority required for managing communal resources now-a days, must be answered by socio-political and environmental research in each area concerned195.

Not all systems are desirable in the present context. Some traditional strategies, such as raids, slavery, and certain taboos run counter to modern development plans and attitudes. The ultimate choice of what is viable and desirable must be decided upon in a collaborative context between the local people and the development workers. The disappearance of certain traditional systems, whether desirable or not, may not be reversible. For example, the traditional equality of many pastoral groups has disappeared and been replaced by an ever increasing income gap that will not be easily righted, and may be even compounded by unsuspecting development plans.

Many recent development projects suggest that the main prerequisite to pastoral development is that formal rights to land and resources be given to any traditional sub-group (clan, lineage, etc.) or in their absence to newly formed associations, that are still viable and cohesive enough to control the resources within the land196. The primary change agent may be the lack of formal resource tenure, but its effect is compounded by other factors, such as population increase, resource depletion, and modern education. Thus, simply reinstating tenurial arrangements may not be enough to revive traditional management practices. Other additional programmes are needed, such as effective and enforceable land use planning, rangeland rehabilitation, and especially innovative programmes such as training local herders to translate formal science and LKMS between the development workers and the people197, training traditional scouts as “technical advisors” to the resource managing committee198, and in general providing incentives for keeping people on the range and raising their standard of living.


1. Stenning, 1959, p. 229.

2. Gillespie 1966, p. 19.

3. Benoit 1978, p. 35.

4. Jacobs 1980, p. 291.

5. Little 1987, p. 197.

6. Stenning 1959, p. 208.

7. Benoit 1978, p. 35.

8. Gallais 1975, p. 49.

9. Allan et al 1948, p. 117.

10. Stenning 1959, pp. 88, 90.

11. Jacobs 1980, p. 275; Little & Brokensha 1987, p. 197.

12. Campbell 1981, p. 45.

13. Stenning 1959, p. 222.

14. McDowell 1969, p. 273.

15. Jacobs 1980, p. 292.

16. Little & Brokensha 1987, pp. 194-196.

17. Homewood & Rodgers 1984, p. 435.

18. Homewood & Rodgers, 1984, p. 433.

19. Ware 1977, p. 187.

20. Benoit 1978, p. 35.

21. Abu-Lugod 1984, p. 7.

22. Bedoian 1978, p. 77.

23. Scott & Gormley 1980, p. 103.

24. FAO 1972, p. 8.

25. Devitt 1971, p. 53.

26. Baker 1975, p. 194.

27. Behnke 1988, p. 6.

28. Horowitz & Badi 1981, p. 19.

29. Bedrani 1987, p. 10.

30. Zumer-Linder 1976, p. 181.

31. Viitanen 1982, p. 59.

32. Thomson 1977, p. 60; Thiongane et al 1987.

33. Gillespie 1966, p. 18.

34. Gallais 1972, p. 363.

35. Benoit 1978, p. 46.

36. Campbell 1981, p. 41.

37. Little 1987, p. 200.

38. Barrow 1988, pp. 17-20.

39. Marchal 1983, p. 163.

40. FAO 1972, p. 7.

41. Ahmed n.d., p. 56.

42. Devitt 1971, p. 55; Hjort & Ostberg 1978, p. 17.

43. Zumer-Linder 1976, p. 184.

44. Blench 1985, p. 17.

45. Homewood & Rodgers, 1984, p. 436.

46. Campbell 1981, p. 52.

47. Schlee 1981, p. 55.

48. Devitt 1971, p. 53.

49. Bedrani 1987, p. 10.

50. Little & Brokensha 1987, p. 200.

51. Barrow 1988, p. 19.

52. Brokensha & Castro 1987, p. 23.

53. Adegboye et al 1978, p. 96.

54. Maliki et al 1984, p. 295.

55. Schlee 1984, p. 24.

56. Thomson 1977, p. 59.

57. Gallais 1975, p. 64.

58. Artz et al 1986.

59. Brokensha & Castro 1987, p. 17.

60. Little & Brokensha 1987, pp. 194-196.

61. Brokensha & Riley 1986, p. 78.

62. Bedrani 1987, p. 10.

63. Little 1987, p. 198.

64. Frantz 1981, p. 81.

65. Little & Brokensha 1987, pp. 194-196.

66. Graham 1988, p. 4.

67. Graham 1988, p. 7.

68. Barrow 1988, pp. 17-20.

69. Bernus 1981a, p. 26.

70. Morton 1988, p. 13.

71. Swift 1977, pp. 290-291.

72. Barral & Benoit 1977, p. 104; Hervouet 1977, p. 70.

73. Nowicki 1985, p. 277.

74. Helland 1978, p. 79.

75. Brokensha & Riley 1986, p. 80.

76. Brokensha & Riley 1980a, p. 120.

77. Marchal 1983, p. 561.

78. Warren & Meehan 1980, p. 326.

79. Fink 1980, p. 262.

80. Elmi, Ahmed & Abdi 1984, p. 193.

81. Lemordant 1972, p. 571.

82. Barrow 1988, p. 10.

83. Sandford 1984, p. 10.

84. Petit 1962, p. 462.

85. Homewood & Hurst 1986, p. 6.

86. Gallais 1972, p. 365.

87. Maliki et al 1984, p. 525.

88. Barral 1977, p. 73.

89. Bernus 1975b, p. 243.

90. Maliki et al 1984, pp. 512 & 525.

91. Winter 1984, p. 612.

92. Little 1987, p. 206.

93. Maliki et al 1984, p. 513.

94. Little 1987, p. 206.

95. Barral 1974, p. 131.

96. Swift 1988a.

97. Tubiana & Tubiana 1977, p. 82.

98. Dyson-Hudson & Dyson-Hudson 1982, p. 235.

99. Bourezg 1984, p. 217.

100. Ahmed n.d., p. 49.

101. Lusigi 1984, p. 344.

102. Ahmed 1978, p. 12.

103. Artz et al 1986.

104. Hjort & Ostberg 1978, p. 30.

105. Gulbrandsen 1980 and Hitchcock 1980 cited in Devitt 1982, pp. 18-19.

106. Kjenstad 1988.

107. Adegboye 1978, p. 61.

108. Bredemeier 1978, p. 90.

109. Hjort 1976c, p. 167.

110. Ostberg 1988, p. 58.

111. Odell 1982, pp. 8-9.

112. Adegboye 1978, p. 62.

113. Ware 1977, p. 188.

114. Artz et al 1986.

115. Swift 1977, p. 284.

116. Benoit 1979, p. 129.

117. Helland 1978, p. 81; Wilson 1986, pp. 22-28.

118. Benoit 1979, p. 160.

119. Talbot 1961, p. 305.

120. Schlee 1981, p. 55.

121. Gallais 1975, p. 88.

122. Little 1987, p. 204.

123. Marchal 1983, pp. 171-174.

124. Horowitz & Badi 1981, p. 20.

125. Helland 1982, p. 255.

126. Ostberg 1987, pp. 15 & 43.

127. Toulmin 1983, p. 13.

128. Putman 1984, p. 170.

129. Boutrais 1974, p. 163.

130. Tubiana & Tubiana 1977, p. 28.

131. Marie 1977, p. 123.

132. Brokensha & Riley 1988, p. 25.

133. Riesman 1984, p. 172; Scott 1984, p. 56.

134. Jacobs 1980, p. 289.

135. Winter 1984, p. 614.

136. Cassanelli 1984, p. 486.

137. Lusigi 1984, p. 344.

138. Goody 1956, p. 54.

139. Hjort & Ostberg 1978, p. 29.

140. Hjort 1976b, p. 74.

141. Fadal 1984, p. 76.

142. Sweet 1965b, p. 1148.

143. Scott & Gormley 1980, p. 101.

144. Riesman 1984, p. 183.

145. Wilson 1951, p. 286.

146. Baker 1975, p. 199.

147. McDermott & Ngor 1983, p. 11.

148. Conant n.d., p. 117.

149. Devitt 1982, p. 19.

150. Peters 1984, p. 33.

151. Bernus 1981a, p. 25.

152. Monod 1975, p. 29.

153. Hiernaux & Diarra 1984, p. 201.

154. Little & Brokensha 1987, p. 201.

155. Benoit 1979, p. 59.

156. Artz 1984, p. 13.

157. Lewis 1961, p. 51.

158. Little 1984, p. 12.

159. Artz et al 1986.

160. Artz et al 1986.

161. Barrow 1988, p. 20.

162. Almagor 1978 and Devitt 1981 cited in Devitt 1982.

163. Noronha & Lethem 1983, p. 3.

164. Wilson et al 1984, pp. 243-244.

165. Tubiana & Tubiana 1977, p. 94.

166. Jacobs 1980, p. 285.

167. Abu-Lughod 1984, p. 9.

168. Little & Brokensha 1987, p. 204.

169. Jacobs 1980, p. 285.

170. Spencer 1965, p. 278.

171. Behnke 1985, pp. 15-18.

172. Behnke 1988, p. 24.

173. Wilson et al. 1984, p. 249.

174. Ahmed 1978, p. 12.

175. Bernus 1974, p. 123.

176. Lewis 1961, p. 35.

177. Devitt 1982, p. 17; Odell 1982, p. 5.

178. Schneider 1953 cited in Ostberg 1988, pp. 62-64.

179. Galle 1986 cited in Ostberg 1988, pp. 62-64.

180. Ostberg 1988, pp. 62-64.

181. Ostberg 1988, pp. 64-65.

182. Sandford 1984, p. 10.

183. Artz et al 1986.

184. Lewis 1961, p. 51.

185. Little 1984, p. 206.

186. Coldham 1978, p. 95.

187. Little & Brokensha 1987, p. 199.

188. Western 1982, p. 205.

189. Morton 1988, p. 6.

190. Schlee 1987, pp. 3-12.

191. Brokensha & Castro 1987, pp. 20-21.

192. Colson 1951, p. 160.

193. Richards 1980, p. 182.

194. Little 1984, p. 206.

195. Odell 1982, p. 7.

196. Bernus 1981; Ostberg 1988, p. 65.

197. Stenning 1959, p. 245.

198. Swift & Maliki 1984, p. 723.

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