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Transhumance and conservation at a crossroads: comparative investigation across West and Central African landscapes of global biodiversity significance

Authors: Leif Brottem*, Grinnell College, Matthew Turner, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Political Geography, Africa
Keywords: pastoralism, transhumance, conservation, africa, resource access
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Protected areas (PA) across West and Central Africa are increasingly sites of violent altercations, including attacks by groups with links to global terrorist networks. The relationship—real or alleged—between pastoralists and insurgent groups have added a new security dimension to an already fraught relationship between herders and PA managers. Global media attention to this problem has obscured rather than shed light on the relationship between this challenge and the everyday resource access needs of pastoralists. This paper focuses on preliminary results from a collaborative research project that is investigating the following questions:
1) What specific elements of the livestock management strategies and pastoral resource governance have been effective at accommodating transboundary livestock movements in and around protected areas in West (Benin & Niger) and Central (Chad and Central African Republic) Africa?
2) What is the geography of transhumance networks that traverse these protected areas and what are the factors affecting the decisions of herders moving through them?
3) What are the potential areas of intervention within conservation landscapes for integrating the elements identified through question #1 into a transboundary transhumance management strategy?
Using a mixed-method approach, this project focuses on the capacity of customary institutions to control livestock movements in areas of growing resource competition, including transboundary conservation areas, which comprise a significant portion of territory across agro-pastoral West and Central Africa. The presentation will include policy recommendations based on the preliminary findings.

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