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I would like to thank Ms Caterina Batello, Crop and Grassland Service, AGPC - FAO, who contributed to this paper. I would also like to acknowledge the continuous support of the FAO/Netherlands Partnership Programme (FNPP), Agro-Biodiversity.

The research was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ). I wish to express my gratitude to these organizations. I particularly wish to thank Gorjo Rima who patiently and energetically assisted me during the field work, always acting like a generous friend. All the Wodaabe whom I encountered were great hosts, invariably helpful and friendly; my thanks go to all of them. I would also like to thank Thomas Bierschenk for advice and assistance throughout the research, Pierre Hiernaux for identifying the plant specimen and Saley Ardo Déré for helping me transcribe and understand the oral records. I am grateful to Patrick Paris, friend and promoter of the Sahelian herders, who first drew my attention to the bush of Kawlaa that he judged the most fascinating pastoral zone of the Niger. Patrick died an untimely death on September 14, 2000. I express my thanks to Frieder Graef, Eva Schlecht, and Klaus Becker who helped me understand Wodaabe pastoral knowledge from the point of view of soil science and animal nutrition science. Finally, I am most grateful to Karsten Vennemann for providing the map layout. Responsibility for the contents of this study rests entirely with the author.

All photographs have been provided by the author.

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