An analysis of feed demand and supply for pastoral livestock: the Gourma region of Mali
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Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/50139
In this chapter, it is argued that the application of scientific knowledge is an essential prerequisite for sustainable resource management. Scientific inputs have the following components when applied to a specific region: (1) a through analysis of the resource base, with emphasis on feed and water supplies and demands in the short-and the long-term (2) the establishment of data banks on livestock systems, comprising utilisation strategies, mobility patterns, offtake and marketing potential etc. The emphasis is on the utility of assessing feed supply and demand in abiotically controlled ecosystems. In this context, the chapter is a contribution to the ongoing debate and the critical reviews of the carrying capacity concept brought about by other centers. The Gourma region is considered an appropriate example, as it has been subject to intensive research extending from the early 1970s to the late 1980s. It is considered that the demand for feed supplies, by analysing the temporal trends in livestock numbers that have used the Gourma as a grazing area. This is followed by an assessment of the entire regions feed supplies, making use of data sources emanating from research by ILCA on the vegetation dynamics and trends. Three major aspects of the feed supply will be considered: (1) the inter-annual variation of forage production in space and over time (2) the impact of herbage disappearance during the dry season and (3) the effect of the spatial distribution of water supplies on forage accessibility.