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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 409749
Title Challenges of assessing the sustainability of (agro)-pastoral systems
Author(s) Ayatunde, A.A.; Leeuw, J.A. de; Turner, M.D.; Said, M.
Source Livestock Science 139 (2011)1-2. - ISSN 1871-1413 - p. 30 - 43.
Department(s) Chair Ethology
Resource Ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) developing-countries - southwestern niger - kajiado district - west-africa - livestock - pastoralism - commons - herders - kenya - sahel
Abstract Pastoralism is not only a livestock-based livelihood strategy but also a way of life with socio-cultural norms and values, and indigenous knowledge revolving around livestock. Pastoral systems in Africa are facing demographic, economic, socio-political and climatic pressures which are driving many pastoralists into non-livestock based livelihood strategies. The changing contexts in which pastoralists operate raise the issue of the sustainability of pastoral systems in dryland Africa. The specific objectives of this paper are: (i) to identify the challenges of assessing the sustainability of pastoral systems with focus on East and West Africa; (ii) to propose criteria and indicators for sustainability assessment of pastoral systems; and (iii) to demonstrate the diversity of pastoral systems by elaborating on features in East and West Africa with case studies from pastoral communities in both regions, namely Samburu in Kenya and Fakara in Niger. All these objectives are to contribute to the debates on the sustainability of pastoralism. Assessing sustainability of pastoral systems is challenging and complex in view of different aspects that should be addressed over time and at different scales. The main challenges addressed in this paper include purpose and interpretation of sustainability, time dimension and scale, diversity of pastoral systems, inter-relatedness of assessment criteria, comprehensiveness and measurability of indicators. To illustrate the challenges, we proposed a number of criteria based on key systems' components of production, stability, efficiency and resilience. For each criterion, a number of indicators were proposed. The criteria we suggested are inter-related and should not be considered in isolation bearing in mind that sustainability is a composite attribute that integrates several variables. In terms of sustainability of pastoral systems in East and West Africa, the key issues are mobility, livestock diversity, livelihood diversification options, and preservation of pastoral tradition and indigenous knowledge. The degree with which these issues are constraining pastoral production and economy will largely shape the trajectory of sustainability of different pastoral systems in both regions.
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