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Human Ecology

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 215–226 | Cite as

Going Where the Grass Is Greener: On the Study of Pastoral Mobility in Ferlo, Senegal

  • Hanne Kirstine AdriansenEmail author
  • Thomas Theis Nielsen
Article

Abstract

Based on a case study from Ferlo in Senegal, this paper discusses how pastoral mobility can be studied and understood with special emphasis on the use of GPS data. It has a dual objective: first, to investigate the methodological potential of using GPS data; second, to discuss the analytical use of GPS data for understanding mobility. The methodological potential for using GPS data is related to quantifying mobility and characterizing mobility patterns in space and time. Analytically, GPS data can be used in combination with qualitative information to make method triangulation. The GPS data can be used both prior to qualitative interviews to make informed questions about mobility and they can be used after qualitative investigations to illustrate points made or to reveal inconsistencies. The study shows that cattle walk about 5000 km per year (excluding night grazing) and different mobility patterns occur depending on the season. Issues such as “the cattle complex” and the notion of the independent, nomadic pastoralist are discussed in relation to pastoral mobility. Although cattle are of major importance to the Fulani, it is not important for them to walk with their animals, which are left to roam freely or supervised by paid herders. It is necessary to take into account all these issues if we want to go beyond the simple understanding of mobility as a means to find pasture and water.

Pastoralism Senegal GPS mobility method triangulation 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanne Kirstine Adriansen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas Theis Nielsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of GeographyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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