Livestock in the western Sahel
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CTA. 1992. Livestock in the western Sahel. Spore 37. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45676
atlas Livestock and pastoral potential in the Sahel
In several past issues SPORE has featured atlases on the pastoral resources of the countries of the western Sahel (see box page 9). These have now been consolidated in a single atlas, which also deals thematically with various aspects of vegetation, water, resources, cattle and animal husbandry. The new volume Livestock and pastoral potential in the Sahel is a major work which draws together current information on the effects of drought on the 3-way interdependence of man-animal-plant which always has been, and will continue to be, the basis of development of pastoralism. The atlas is the result of a joint project by CTA and IEMVT (Institut d'Elevage et de Medicine Veterinaire des Pays Tropicaux), and collates all the data collected by IEMVT over the last 40 years. This compendium contains all the available information on came-breeding and its evolution. It took six years to produce and is aimed at state technical services, regional organizations and funding agencies. The data covers an area of more than 3,500,000 km2 (six times the size of France); it incorporates a synthesis of all available previously published work and takes into account findings in veterinary sciences and parasitology. The use of aerial photography from the Landsat satellite complements this information. Among the contributors were specialists in human geography and hydrogeologists from BRGM (Bureau de Recherches Geologiques et Minieres), as well as scientists from national institutions working on the development of pastoralism. The atlas contains more than 180 pages, of which 32 are devoted to a cartographical survey (scale 1:500,000) of the pastoral vegetation of the whole western Sahelian zone, an area which receives an annual rainfall of between 150 and 600mm. It features the orohydrography of the region, and essential data on climate, population distribution, and economic factors. The Atlas also provides an overview of plant species distribution based on field sampling of thousands of plants. A comparison between normal and drought rainfall levels is included to show the response of local vegetation to climatic variations. The keys to the agropastoral maps are both for reference and also to show a projection of how fodder production and carrying capacity may change according to variations in rainfall (since there can be no consideration of pasture without a simultaneous investigation of water). There is also a map showing deficiences in major and minor plant nutrients, and this constitutes the first step towards more detailed, larger-scale maps, which will facilitate more rational utilization of pasturelands. Starting with the wholly traditional scene of the 1950s, the atlas includes a detailed overview of the situations encountered by ethnic groups of pastoralists over the past three decades. The response of pastoral people to the establishment of the new environmental order and its consequences for both nomadism and settled agriculture is described. Domestic animal breeds are categorized and described according to region using archive documents and numerous reference works which have been complemented by research done in the field. Livestock breeding and rearing is affected by the tsetse fly and the advances in the campaigns against this pest are detailed. The tsetse, various vectors of pathogens which affect both animals and man, and ticks and their distribution have a section devoted to them, with maps showing the influence of rainfall on the distribution of the various pest species. A preliminary summary of present knowledge on intestinal parasites is included. Finally, the organization and current state of the veterinary infrastructure in the relevant countries is analysed. In the Sahel the twin scourges of drought and rapid population growth demand solutions which will bring livestock production into line with agricultural development. The availability of this new atlas will spur decision makers and planners in their consideration of the fast-changing needs of this region. The text, covering such a variety of themes, demonstrates the complexity of the problems, the importance of a regional strategy, and the necessity of integrating research findings in order to facilitate the development of pastoralism and crop production. From this point of view scientists and students will benefit from the publication, which will provide them with both databank and food for thought. CTA's financial support for the book springs from its mandate to disseminate scientific and technical information in order to aid the formulation of the development strategies of ACP countries. The socio-economic importance of pastoralism in the Sahelian region and the need to protect an exceptionally fragile ecosystem amply justify CTA's choice of subject matter. CTA and IEMVT are continuing their collaboration in the preparation of two further atlases, on the pastoral resources of North Cameroon and Sudan, which will be published in the near future. ATLAS OF PASTORAL RESOURCES Chad SPORE 3 Niger SPORE 8 Burkina Faso SPORE 11 Mali SPORE 17 Senegal SPORE 26 Mauritania SPORE 33