Structure and carrying capacity
The discussions can be grouped into four main topics:
1. Structure and carrying capacity
2. Economic problems
H. LE HOUEROU:
Could Dr. Fricke develop a little more his idea that sociological data be taken into account in the definition of carrying capacity. In fact, the carrying capacity seems independent of social conditions.
The carrying capacity of the rangelands used by nomadic livestock must not be evaluated in the same way as that of rangelands used by sedentary animals. The livestock belonging to the farmers generally represents only a part of their agricultural activity. The density of livestock and the various other factors relative to livestock breeders should be taken into consideration at the regional level for administrative decisions.
H. LE HOUEROU:
It's a question of the problem of managing individual or community herds rather than carrying capacity. Once more, carrying capacity and stocking rate are being confused.
If the carrying capacity is considered at the local level it is necessary as well to consider the structure of the herds, the infrastructure, and the market. This then leads to looking at the problem on the regional level. Therefore, there is a relationship between carrying capacity, stocking rate and the regional aspects of livestock production.
Mr. Risopoulos has circulated a report by the F.A.O. on the broad ecological lines necessary in the development of the arid and semi-arid zones in Africa and the Middle East. This document deals with the responsibility of international institutions in rangeland problems. When integrated solutions do not seem possible, the ministries or the departments involved can only work out their own aspects of the problem.
The regional planning approach can be very beneficial in the sense that it applies an integrated solution which calls for passing over sectoral boundaries and necessitates a concerted effort by the ministries or departments involved in planning; one of the functions of I.L.C.A. could be to make known the experiments of African governments by distinguishing which governments are favorable to a regional approach and which are favorable to a sectoral approach. It should be underlined that the institutional structure of a country can determine to a large extent the level of success in the solution of its ecological problems.
Concerning the setting up of structures, there is another problem in addition to the one raised by Dr. Fricke. For the most part we are preoccupied with the improvement of land areas and their rational exploitation, not to safeguard what exists but to restore what we are in the process of losing. It would even seem that the process is irreversible. In this work, essential to the development of our countries, we are disturbed because we need to follow the direction of experts since we lack trained personnel. A fundamental problem is raised for us; that of being able to think by ourselves and for ourselves concerning our own conception of development.
It seems that we put too much importance on feasibility and predevelopment studies. Isn't a little too much emphasis placed on this problem that actually overlooks our immediate needs? These studies are expensive, and it is necessary to define the minimal information on which they are based. It is often said that a region prepares itself for development; but the problem that arises is mainly the draining off of products provided by a region. Does the road lead to the development of a zone or the opposite? How is minimal information defined and a method found so that the major part of the money destined for feasibility studies is redirected toward actions that will later on lead to an overall development of the zone in question?
The road that leads to development or the opposite is of little importance: the essential is to establish a coherent development program. It is necessary to have at least some information concerning rangeland resources, the human and animal population, the water supply, etc. The evaluations are usually done to gather the information necessary for the development projects and must be an integral part of planning.
Dr. Maiga's concern is knowing how to determine the minimum level acceptable by those who provide the funds to identify development projects and begin action. This is a basic question that even concerns the criteria used to determine profit earning and the economic interests of the project. This question must be kept in mind in order to establish the priorities in the development zones where the lack of information is often a major drawback.
This said, you can, in a development program at the national level, proceed from a general evaluation of resources in order to form a master plan and to specify the work in the different zones. Concerning the detailed studies, it will always be difficult to use all the factors involved. There is something at stake: it is necessary to take the minimum and set off with this minimum, which must judge the other factors in the course of development. This is the approach to the problem that is not always understood by those who provide the funds.
Concerning the development projects in the 5th region of Mali mentioned by Mr. D. Pratt, when we must deal with the problem of fodder resources, the problem of carrying capacity arises. We had studies which gave indications, but to the extent that they were exact and that they did not include a series of year to year observations, they led to a certain number of errors admitted by their authors.
Therefore it was necessary to define a development program for this zone and it was during the definition of this development program that we were led to identify a certain number of courses of action, including:
- a program of pastoral hydraulics,
- a land management program,
- a management program for the herds,
- a commercialization program resulting from an improved infrastructure,
- a working alphabetization program.
One must point out concerning this alphabetization program that long discussions were necessary between the responsible Malians and the financial sources, so that it would be accepted as one of the important factors in development. It had to be approved.
Dr. W. FRICKE:
There are three phases in establishing a development program:
1) An evaluation must be done by professionals on the importance of the livestock, the stocking rate, the socioeconomic factors, etc.
2) The results of this evaluation must be discussed by the governmental structures that can make the decisions.
3) Finally, broad educational outlines must be established for explaining the chosen solution to the people.
A. BLAIR RAINS:
To what degree do the socio-economists agree on the standardization of evaluations in their field?
The explanation going from the micro, to the mean, or to the macro level shows only that it is difficult to get a good view of this whole problem, and that it is not possible to find a good standardization.
The economic criteria for the development and evaluation of surveys are very important. The cost/profit relationship should be more closely adhered to. It would be interesting to devote a meeting to this problem.
The studies on the cost/profit relationship of the evaluations of the research in general give little information on the final use of the research programs. According to the experience of the United States, vast sums of money have been spent on these studies, which has only served as an obstacle to the programs. This is true for research, but not necessarily for the development program.
Dr. B. SONI:
The studies on the cost/profit relationship, although probably not valuable if they are too detailed, can always help justify the financial requests for a project.
Concerning the studies on the cost/profit relationship, it is difficult to foresee the specific benefits of a project. These studies ought to be limited to broad practical lines that allow for choosing between different valuable methodologies.
Future needs are seen at three levels:
1) The physical setting. There is necessity to pursue studies involving vegetation. In the Sahelian zone, phytosociological studies have been done in a systematic manner.
2) The human setting. It is necessary to study the transfer of technology to the level of the users.
3) The animal setting. Gaps exist in our knowledge of the animals. The important problem is defining the nutritional standards for the livestock. The physiological problem of nutrition seems to be of primary importance if one wants to improve a substance that requires numerous studies.
Only research and research applications in the field have been talked about. It is forgotten by developed countries that they have profited from the collective knowledge of the livestock breeders over the years. In Africa, it would be necessary to create an intermediate level between the researchers and the livestock breeders. In fact, the livestock breeders are always in a position to specify the causes of failure or to know why they are not obtaining results identical to those of the research.
It is necessary for research application to be made by the researchers themselves. Therefore, it would be desirable to prolong the research work in the field by creating extension experimental units under the control of researchers who have developed the techniques.
In order to improve the understanding between countries of different languages and to facilitate the work of the users, it would be interesting to organize seminars on:
- description of the vegetation,
- standardization of collection of data,
- problems of nomenclature of vegetation and rangelands (review of the Yangambi classification and standardization of existing regional endeavors),
- classification of herbaceous formations.
This work can be done on different levels: African or local.
The Sahelian flora is still not sufficiently known. Therefore it is necessary to pursue an evaluation of it and to publish works permitting the identification of the different vegetal species of the Sahel. These works do not exist in Mauritania, Mali, Chad, or Niger.
Last year, the decision to create three trial situations was made by the Ministry of Cooperation in Paris. The first would be set up in the 100-500 millimetre zone, the second in the 500-1,200 millimetre zone and the third over 1,200 millimetres. The information gathered periodically, that is, every three or four years, at different scales could serve as department training as well as ground training.
Although there is a continuous need for research, it is necessary to point out that a great deal of information is actually available. If it were gathered, it would permit working out projects without waiting for the results of one relatively long-term research project. To the data already gathered can be added those obtained from continuous surveillance of current programs. The existing data can be gathered in different ways: for example, a synthesis, in summary form, could be made by a team set up for this purpose, as is frequently done for pre-research planning.
From the discussion two problems stand out that need immediate solution. The first is stopping the deterioration of resources, and the second, in relation to the first, is increasing food production and consequently the level of life. In the United States, agencies exist whose role it is to inform landowners and public agencies of the data and other information already assembled. Many projects have already been undertaken on problems identical to those that the African rangelands must race. If an immediate action were taken on the national, international, or international institution level, the results of these projects would be easily applicable.
Research has been carried out to perfect the techniques of aerial photography. However, there seems to be a world of difference between the creation of maps and their practical applications.
The tendency is to apply techniques developed elsewhere. Combined studies, for example, land management and mapping, are often the final points of a study. This suggests that all the levels leading to composite study are known. Still, it is a fact that there are many researchers to do the combined studies but very few to study the basis of the problem, in particular, the biology of the species.
It is necessary to set up the evaluation of research already carried out in order to make immediate action possible, and to support as well the request for funds for research programs.
It is evident that there is no uniformity in Africa on standardizing the gathering of data, etc. I.L.C.A., the O.A.U. and other similar organizations could serve as liaison between the French-speaking and English-speaking countries for the much-needed exchange of information and methodologies.
All during this seminar it has been said that there is much more information for the developed countries than for the African countries. That's not true for rangelands. There is more research in Africa than in Australia. The difference lies in the number of researchers and administrations able to use the available information and work with it in order to derive something that can help in the decisions that must be made. Aid and development programs are set in motion with the existing information, which is largely sufficient. The action programs are more important than the research programs.
I.L.C.A. was created to handle African problems. Yet, if you don't put together information coming from Australia, America, or the countries that have similar rangeland conditions, you miss some of the objectives. We have enough information to use. First it is necessary to assemble it, know how to utilize it, and finally specify the problems and see what the solutions are. Once the solutions are looked at the problems can be met by field and research teams. And these are the missing links.
We know perfectly well what we need in Africa. What we need are the means. Along with development programs, it is important to do research, which permits better achievement of these programs.
The need to pursue investigations on the formulation of action for development is essential. That has been established as a priority for I.L.C.A.
It is essential to think about the formation of local staff able to acquire the needed techniques in order to solve our own development problems. The training of staff is the first recommendation that must be made. Yet, in the French-speaking countries no school exists at present for the training of such staff. Meanwhile it is necessary to use outside help more carefully, in the form of teams dependent first of all on the government that is using them, so that they can work within national structures. That would permit us to control studies before setting up national development programs.
The question is knowing how many people must be trained and how and where to train them.
It is common for young people to go abroad to study for varying lengths of time. In the long run, however, an educational and training program at the country level or a regional program will be necessary in Africa.
The problem of training is a very important one that has been of high priority in the African states for a long time. Numerous recommendations have already been formulated which are now dead issues. It's not the role of this seminar to talk about this. One can only hope that on the state levels there will be training programs set up in the use of rangeland. The training problem can be dealt with on the national level or by African organizations. The O.A.U. ought to anticipate something in this area. For its own part, I.L.C.A. could organize seminars of this type or support missions for research programs carried out in already existing African centres. Thus I.L.C.A. would not only provide a great service but would assist the specialists in keeping abreast of what is going on and in improving themselves. It would be necessary to include provision for training programs in agreements for the financing of cartography.
Couldn't we ask the different institutes specializing in cartography to let I.L.C.A. know their training possibilities and their entrance requirements? This information should appear in the final report.
I.L.C.A. will not replace existing structures, but will use them to best advantage. I.L.C.A. will not be a new university. I.L.C.A. will use seminars as a means of training, and not only in the area that interests it today. Researchers who have been out of the university for 6 or 7 years often lose contact due to lack of time. I.L.C.A. proposes to take them out of their daily routine by organizing discussions that will interest small specialized groups. These teams would get together in a place where one of the researchers is faced with a problem; the others could in this way talk about it and try to resolve it. I.L.C.A. will address itself to specialists and bodies responsible for training. With regard to support programs requested, it is cooperative programs that I.L.C.A. is setting up.
If you are considering training interpreters of aerial photographs or ground photographs, I.L.C.A. can benefit from the experience of other organizations that have already begun training programs. Their objective will be to train Africans in these techniques in order to replace the foreign experts.
Training must be a well-defined goal. It is often difficult, particularly at a high level, to find an experimental site in Europe or North America with conditions that resemble those in Africa.
One solution could be that the student work in a North American or European university, get a degree, and then do research in Africa. I.L.C.A. could play an important role in proposing research topics in relation to African problems. In this way a student would obtain technical knowledge and practical experience which would have immediate value.
There are two concerns:
1) Finding solutions in the framework of I.L.C.A., to the problem of continuous training.
2) Before addressing the problem of continuous training, there is the problem of the basic training of field workers.
First of all it is necessary to guarantee the training which actually takes place outside the country. We realize that foreign institutions are established to resolve problems in their own regions; but their problems are often far removed from the problems of our countries. It is necessary to specify the type of men that you want to train; and the training should be carried out in Africa.
Educational priorities in the African countries are subject to budgetary considerations. Since it is not possible to guarantee the desired training in every field, it is necessary to define priorities. For this reason it would seem desirable to encourage the creation of regional training centres. The training ought to be addressed to all levels, to livestock as well as to technicians.
The number of higher institutions is perhaps insufficient, but a few of them do exist; and it's at this level that the assessment of programs is done. It's up to the Africans to formulate their academic requests so that the "development" factor becomes a part of the educational program. Professors must admit that their fields are undergoing change, and new programs must be developed periodically. In this way, new techniques like photo-interpretation will not be added but integrated into the programs. This should permit a better assimilation by the students.
Concerning training at the country level, in Mali we have been forced to deal with the myth of degrees. In order to do away with this myth we have established the Centre Pédagogique Supérieur of Bamako. The basis is to have young people at the B.A. or B.S. levels take what we call a postgraduate degree: scientific personnel supported by international scientific will follow them for the execution of practical fieldwork. In thinking about formulas of this type, it would be possible to rearrange our existing educational structures and to bring into them certain high level specialists. The intervention of I.L.C.A. at this level could be very useful: I.L.C.A. could serve as a grouping centre for the students, who would be taken into the field by specialists.
P. DE RHAM:
The UNESCO has been concerned about the arid zones for a long time. We have had meetings where different proposals have been made. In particular, the setting up of pilot programs should allow for defining in detail the ecological bases for management. It is evident that these studies should be integrated from the outset. That would make them more interesting. At all costs, the work must depend directly on a given institution in order to eliminate the sectoral blockage already mentioned. These studies should proceed from the studies already done in the framework of an international biological program, for the good and simple reason that these studies have not covered a sufficient number of years and also, that the years in which they have been produced have been exceptionally dry. It would be necessary to pursue these studies during more normal conditions. Such data would also permit evaluating the reconstitution of ecosystems in periods of normal rainfall. We can no longer be content with pure scientific research projects: their application must be seen. Therefore it is necessary to study, on the basis of biological criteria, the results of the use of the environment. These studies on the physical environment should be accompanied by sociological studies to see how the people can accept the different types of utilization called for. This type of research would be particularly interesting in the framework of training.