Changing access to labor, pastures, and knowledge: the extensification of grazing management in Sudano-Sahelian West Africa
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Turner, M.D.; Hiernaux, P. 2008. Changing access to labor, pastures, and knowledge: the extensification of grazing management in Sudano-Sahelian West Africa. Human Ecology 36(1):59-80.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/2116
The broader ecological and social contexts within which livestock husbandry of Sudano-Sahelian West Africa operates have changed significantly over the past thirty years. This study concerns how: (1) these broader trends have affected the quantity and quality of labor investments into livestock herding; and (2) the ecological and animal nutritional implications of observed variation in labor investments into herding. The study was conducted in a 500 km2 area of western Niger using a combination of qualitative interviews of herders and herd managers, household composition surveys, herd composition monitoring, grazing management monitoring and georeferenced vegetation and livestock grazing itinerary data. Statistical analyses were performed using a two-staged approach: (1) analysis of the factors affecting the allocation of labor to herding at the level of the managing household; and (2) analysis of the effect of herd characteristics, season, microgeography and herders’ social position on herders’ effort and the nutritional and ecological impacts of these efforts. The results of these analyses support the conclusion that the changing regional context of livestock husbandry leads to a reduction in labor (quantity and quality) investment or an “extensification” of herding with significant implications for livestock productivity and the environment.