Briefing Note - Indigenous Rangelands Monitoring: harnessing pastoralist knowledge in the Horn of Africa
● Rangelands development and extension services should build on pastoral indigenous rangelands knowledge
● Pastoral rangeland management capacity can be strengthened through support to customary institutions
● Local and global monitoring of rangelands degradation should use local knowledge to verify larger-scale data sets
In Eastern Africa, and perhaps more widely, there is a disconnect between rangelands science and pastoralist rangelands management. The challenge is partly one of different knowledge systems and a failure of scientists and practitioners to communicate effectively with the other. Pastoralists and rangeland scientists have plenty to offer each other, but what is often missing is mutual respect and understanding and the necessary means for bringing the two knowledge systems together. Range scientists tend to monitor rangelands at relatively fine scales, whereas herders tend to operate at multiple scales. Range scientists recommend manipulation of stocking rates in accordance with localised range condition, whereas herders practice seasonal herd movements to routinely modify grazing pressure between landscapes and between seasons. These approaches are not mutually exclusive, but they illustrate different monitoring systems based on different objectives.