Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Traditional ecological knowledge underlying herding decisions of pastoralists

  • C. Tamou (a1), I. J. M. de Boer (a1), R. Ripoll-Bosch (a1) and S. J. Oosting (a1)

Abstract

Pastoralists have traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), which is important for their livelihoods and for policies and interventions. Pastoralism is under pressure, however, which may result in a decline of pastoral lifestyle and its related TEK. We, therefore, addressed the following objectives (i) to inventorise and assess how pastoralists characterise and value soils and forages in their environment, (ii) to analyse how soil, forage and livestock (i.e. cattle) characteristics relate to herding decisions and (iii) to determine whether TEK underlying herding decisions differs across generations. Data were collected through focus groups and individual interviews with 72 pastoralists, belonging to three generations and to three agro-ecological zones. Using a three-point scale (high, medium, low), four grasses and three tree forages were assessed in terms of nutritional quality for milk, meat, health and strength. Using their own visual criteria, pastoralists identified five different soils, which they selected for herding at different times of the year. Pastoralists stated that Pokuri was the best soil because of its low moisture content, whereas Karaal was the worst because forage hardly grows on it. They stated that perennials, such as Andropogon gayanus and Loxoderra ledermannii, were of high nutritional quality, whereas annuals such as Andropogon pseudapricus and Hyparrhenia involucrata were of low nutritional quality. Afzelia africana was perceived of high quality for milk production, whereas Khaya senegalensis had the highest quality for meat, health and strength. Pastoralists first used soil, then forage and finally livestock characteristics in their herding decisions. Pastoralists’ TEK was not associated with their generations, but with their agro-ecological zones. This study suggests that pastoralists had common and detailed TEK about soils, forages and livestock characteristics, underlying their herding decisions. To conclude, pastoralists use a holistic approach, combining soil, vegetation and livestock TEK in herding decisions. Such TEK can guide restoration or improvement of grazing lands, and land use planning.

Copyright

Corresponding author

E-mail: tamouc@gmail.com

References

Hide All
Agresti, A 2007. Residuals for cells in a contingency table. In An introduction to categorical data analysis (ed. A Agresti), pp. 3839. John Wiley & Sons Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA.
Ayantunde, AA, Williams, TO, Udo, HM, Fernández-Rivera, S, Hiernaux, P and van Keulen, H 2000. Herders’ perceptions, practice, and problems of night grazing in the Sahel: case studies from Niger. Human Ecology 28, 109129.
Ayantunde, AA, de Leeuw, J, Turner, MD and Said, M 2011. Challenges of assessing the sustainability of (agro)-pastoral systems. Livestock Science 139, 3043.
Ayantunde, AA, Fernández-Rivera, S, Hiernaux, PH and Tabo, R 2008. Implications of restricted access to grazing by cattle in wet season in the Sahel. Journal of Arid Environments 72, 523533.
Barfield, TJ 1993. The nomadic alternative. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA.
Bassett, TJ and Turner, MD 2007. Sudden shift or migratory drift? FulBe herd movements to the Sudano-Guinean region of West Africa. Human Ecology 35, 3349.
Berkes, F, Colding, J and Folke, C 2000. Rediscovery of traditional ecological knowledge as adaptive management. Ecological Applications 10, 12511262.
Billand, A, De Visscher, MN, Kidjo, FC, Compaore, A, Boureima, A, Morel, A, Camara, L, Czesnik, F and Ahoyo Adjovi, NR 2005. Plan d’Aménagement et de Gestion (2006–2010) de la Réserve de Biosphère Transfrontalière W - Etat des lieux. Ecosystèmes Protégés en Afrique Sahélienne (ECOPAS), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Blench, R 2001. ‘You can’t go home again’: pastoralism in the new millennium. Overseas Development Institute, London, UK.
Boesen, E, Hardung, C and Kuba, R 1998. Regards sur le Borgou: Pouvoir et alterité dans une region ouest-africaine. L’Harmattan, Paris, France.
Bouché, P, Aboudou, M, Amadou, SA, Amahowe, OI, Djibey, M, Halilou-Malam-Garba, H, Hassane, ZI, Hebie, L, Kougnati, SJ and Makadassou, A 2012. Inventaire aérien de l’écosysteme W-Arly-Pendjari, Mai–Juin 2012. CITES-MIKE, WAP/UNOPS Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Brockington, D and Homewood, K 2001. Degradation debates and data deficiencies: the Mkomazi Game Reserve, Tanzania. Africa 71, 449480.
Buldgen, A and Dieng, A 1997. Andropogon gayanus var. bisquamulatus: a fodder crop for the tropics. Administration Générale de la Coopération du Développement (AGCD), Bruxelles, Belgium.
Butt, B 2015. Herding by mobile phone: technology, social networks and the “transformation” of pastoral herding in East Africa. Human Ecology 43, 114.
Chambers, R 1994. Participatory rural appraisal (PRA): challenges, potentials and paradigm. World Development 22, 14371454.
Coppolillo, PB 2000. The landscape ecology of pastoral herding: spatial analysis of land use and livestock production in East Africa. Human Ecology 28, 527560.
Fernández-Giménez, ME and Fillat Estaque, F 2012. Pyrenean pastoralists’ ecological knowledge: documentation and application to natural resource management and adaptation. Human Ecology 40, 287300.
Fratkin, E and Mearns, R 2003. Sustainability and pastoral livelihoods: lessons from East African Maasai and Mongolia. Human Organisation 62, 112122.
Galvin, KA 2008. Responses of pastoralists to land fragmentation: social capital, connectivity and resilience. In Fragmentation in Semi-Arid and Arid Landscapes (eds. KA Galvin, RS Reid, RH Behnke Jr and N Thompson Hobbs), pp. 369389. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
Gaoue, OG and Ticktin, T 2009. Fulani knowledge of the ecological impacts of Khaya senegalensis (Meliaceae) foliage harvest in Benin and its implications for sustainable harvest. Economic Botany 63, 256270.
Gaughan, JB and Mader, TL 2014. Body temperature and respiratory dynamics in un-shaded beef cattle. International Journal of Biometeorology 58, 14431450.
Greter, AM, Miller-Cushon, EK, McBride, BW, Widowski, TM, Duffield, TF and DeVries, TJ 2015. Short communication: limit feeding affects behavior patterns and feeding motivation of dairy heifers. Journal of Dairy Science 98, 12481254.
Houessou, LG, Teka, O, Imorou, IT, Lykke, AM and Sinsin, B 2013. Land use and land-cover change at “W” Biosphere Reserve and its surroundings areas in Benin Republic (West Africa). Environment and Natural Resources Research 3, 87101.
Institut National de la Statistique et de l'Analyse Economique (INSAE) 2016. Principaux indicateurs socio-démographiques et économiques (RGPH-4, 2013). Gouvernement du Bénin, Cotonou, Bénin.
Kakinuma, K, Sasaki, T, Jamsran, U, Okuro, T and Takeuchi, K 2014. Relationship between pastoralists’ evaluation of Rangeland State and vegetation threshold changes in Mongolian Rangelands. Environmental Management 54, 888896.
Kgosikoma, O, Mojeremane, W and Harvie, BA 2012. Pastoralists’ perception and ecological knowledge on Savanna ecosystem dynamics in semi-arid Botswana. Ecology and Society 17, 27.
Krohmer, J 2010. Landscape perception, classification, and use among Sahelian Fulani in Burkina Faso. In Landscape ethnoecology. Concepts of biotic and physical space (eds. L Main Johnson and ES Hunn), pp. 4982. Berghahn Books, New York, USA.
Liao, C, Morreale, SJ, Kassam, K-AS, Sullivan, PJ and Fei, D 2014. Following the green: coupled pastoral migration and vegetation dynamics in the Altay and Tianshan Mountains of Xinjiang, China. Applied Geography 46, 6170.
Lozada, M, Ladio, A and Weigandt, M 2006. Cultural transmission of ethnobotanical knowledge in a rural community of northwestern Patagonia, Argentina. Economic Botany 60, 374385.
Mangiafico, SS 2016. Association tests for nominal variables. In Summary and analysis of extension program evaluation in R, version 1.5.0 (ed. SS Mangiafico), pp. 393401. Rutgers Cooperative Extension, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.
McCabe, JT 2004. Cattle bring us to our enemies: Turkana ecology, politics, and raiding in a disequilibrium system. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
McLafferty, I 2004. Focus group interviews as a data collecting strategy. Journal of Advanced Nursing 48, 187194.
Moritz, M, Handa, S, Chen, Y-J and Xiao, N 2015. Herding contracts and pastoral mobility in the far north region of Cameroon. Human Ecology 43, 141151.
Niamir-Fuller, M 1999. Managing mobility in African rangelands. Intermediate Technology Publications, London, UK.
Oba, G 2012. Harnessing pastoralists’ indigenous knowledge for rangeland management: three African case studies. Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice 2, 125.
Oba, G and Kaitira, L 2006. Herder knowledge of landscape assessments in arid rangelands in northern Tanzania. Journal of Arid Environments 66, 168186.
Obulbiga, M and Kaboré-Zoungrana, CY 2007. Influence de la fumure azotée et du rythme d’exploitation sur la production de matière sèche et la valeur alimentaire de Andropogon gayanus Kunth au Burkina Faso. Tropicultura 25, 161167.
Oteros Rozas, E, Ontillera-Sánchez, R, Sanosa, P, Gómez-Baggethun, E, Reyes-García, V and González, JA 2013. Traditional ecological knowledge among transhumant pastoralists in Mediterranean Spain: learning for adaptation to global change. Ecology and Society 18, 33.
Ouédraogo-Koné, S, Kaboré-Zoungrana, CY and Ledin, I 2008. Important characteristics of some browse species in an agrosilvopastoral system in West Africa. Agroforestry Systems 74, 213221.
Pope, C and Mays, N 1995. Reaching the parts other methods cannot reach: an introduction to qualitative methods in health and health services research. British Medical Journal 311, 4245.
R Core Team 2016. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria.
Reid, RS, Thornton, PK and Kruska, RL 2004. Loss and fragmentation of habitat for pastoral people and wildlife in East Africa: concepts and issues. African Journal of Range and Forage Science 21, 171181.
Roba, HG and Oba, G 2009. Efficacy of integrating herder knowledge and ecological methods for monitoring rangeland degradation in northern Kenya. Human Ecology 37, 589612.
Schareika, N 1998. Elevage bovin et économie familiale chez les Fulbe du Nord-Bénin. In Regards sur le Borgou: Pouvoir et alterité dans une region ouest-africaine (eds. E Boesen, C Hardung and R Kuba), pp. 311328. L’Harmattan, Paris, France.
Schareika, N 2003. Know to move, move to know: ecological knowledge and herd movement strategies among the Wodaabe of Southeastern Niger. FAO, Rome, Italy. http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/006/Y5115E/Y5115E00.HTM
Simo, G and Rayaisse, JB 2015. Challenges facing the elimination of sleeping sickness in west and central Africa: sustainable control of animal trypanosomiasis as an indispensable approach to achieve the goal. Parasites & Vectors 8, 640640.
Tamou, C 2002. Etat des lieux quantitatif et spatialisé de la transhumance dans la zone peripherique du Parc National du W en Republique du Benin. MSc thesis, University of Abomey-Calavi, Abomey-Calavi, Benin.
Tamou, C 2017. Understanding relations between pastoralism and its changing natural environment. PhD thesis, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Thornton, PK 2010. Livestock production: recent trends, future prospects. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 365, 28532867.
Tresoldi, G, Schütz, KE and Tucker, CB 2016. Assessing heat load in drylot dairy cattle: Refining on-farm sampling methodology. Journal of Dairy Science 99, 89708980.
Tshering, K and Thinley, P 2017. Assessing livestock herding practices of agro-pastoralists in western Bhutan: livestock vulnerability to predation and implications for livestock management policy. Pastoralism 7, 5.
van Driel, A 2002. Sharing a Valley. The changing relations between agriculturalists and pastoralists in the Niger Valley of Benin. PhD Thesis, University of Amsterdam, 243 pp.
Vogl, CR, Vogl-Lukasser, B and Walkenhorst, M 2016. Local knowledge held by farmers in Eastern Tyrol (Austria) about the use of plants to maintain and improve animal health and welfare. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 12, 40.
Wario, HT, Roba, HG and Kaufmann, B 2015. Shaping the herders’ “mental maps”: participatory mapping with pastoralists’ to understand their grazing area differentiation and characterization. Environmental Management 56, 721737.
Youssao, AI and Assogba, M 2002. Prévalence de la fasciolose bovine dans la vallée du fleuve Niger au Bénin. Revue d'élevage et de médecine vétérinaire des pays tropicaux 55, 105108.

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed