The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 605–622 | Cite as

Living Off Uncertainty: The Intelligent Animal Production of Dryland Pastoralists

Original Article

Abstract

Despite important advances following the challenge to equilibrium-based models in range ecology, pastoralism is still largely seen as a coping strategy that allows herders to get along with an ‘inadequate’ resource base. This stance can be traced to a long-established approach in the disciplines that inform pastoral development planning (natural resource management, range ecology, animal science) to rely on analytical tools based on standard statistics and average values. However, pastoralism is better understood as a sui generis production system, that deliberately exploits the transient concentrations of nutrients that represent the most reliable feature of dryland environments; a system geared at maximising the production of economic value while stabilising its performance in environments where ‘uncertainty’ is harnessed for production. As average values and standard statistics fail to capture non-uniform distribution (relied upon for production in dryland pastoralism), they should not uniquely or uncritically inform pastoral development planning.

Keywords

Wodaabe asymmetric distribution pastoral development feeding selectivity new range ecology high reliability 

Abstract

Malgré les importants progrès réalisés suite à la remise en question des modèles d′équilibre appliqués à l′écologie pastorale, le pastoralisme reste largement considéré comme une stratégie d′ajustement permettant tout juste aux éleveurs de survivre à partir de ressources ‘insuffisantes’. Cette position trouve son origine dans une approche adoptée depuis longtemps par les disciplines qui façonnent la planification du développement pastoral (gestion des ressources naturelles, écologie pastorale, zootechnie) qui consiste à s′appuyer sur des outils analytiques basés sur des statistiques standardisées et des valeurs moyennes. Pourtant, le pastoralisme se comprend mieux comme un système de production sui generis, qui exploite délibérément les concentrations fluctuantes de substances nutritives, ce dernier point constituant la principale caractéristique des terres arides; comme un système conçu pour maximiser la valeur de la production tout en stabilisant ses performances dans des environnements où ‘l’incertitude’ est exploitée pour la production. Les valeurs moyennes et statistiques standardisées ne permettent pas de prendre en compte la répartition non-uniforme (sur laquelle repose la production pastorale dans les milieux arides) et par conséquent ne doivent pas constituer les seules sources de la planification du développement pastoral.

References

  1. Alimaev, I.I. (2003) Transhumant ecosystems: Fluctuations in seasonal pasture productivity. In: C. Kerven (ed.) Prospects for Pastoralism in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan: From State Farms to Private Flocks. London: Routledge-Curzon.Google Scholar
  2. Amanor, K.S. (1995) Dynamics of herd structures and herding strategies in West Africa: A study of market integration and ecological adaptation. Africa 65: 351–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ayantunde, A.A., Hiernaux, P., Briejer, M., Udo, H. and Tabo, R. (2009) Uses of local plant species by agropastoralists in South-western Niger. Ethnobotany Research and Applications 7: 53–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ayantunde, A.A., Hiernaux, P., Fernández-Rivera, S., van Keulen, H. and Udo, H.M.J. (1999) Selective grazing by cattle on spatially and seasonally heterogeneous rangeland in Sahel. Journal of Arid Environments 42 (4): 261–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Banner, R. (2008) Sheep as integrated sagebrush managers. Paper presented at the 2008 BEHAVE Annual Meeting ‘Behavior-based Management: Embracing Change from Genes to Landscapes’; 28–30 October, Park City, Utah.Google Scholar
  6. Behnke, R.H. and Scoones, I. (1993) Rethinking range ecology: Implications for rangeland management in Africa. In: R.H. Behnke, I. Scoones and C. Kerven (eds.) Range Ecology at Disequilibrium: New Models of Natural Variability and Pastoral Adaptation in African Savannas. London: Overseas Development Institute.Google Scholar
  7. Bocquené, H. (1986) Moi, Un Mbororo: Autobiographie de Oumarou Ndoudi, Peul Nomade du Cameroun. Paris: Éditions Karthala.Google Scholar
  8. Boissy, A., Nowak, R., Orgeur, P. and Veissier, I. (2001) Les Liens Sociaux chez les Ruminants d′Élevage: Limites et Moyens d′Action pour Favoriser l′Intégration de l′Animal dans son Milieu. Productions Animales (INRA) 14: 79–90.Google Scholar
  9. Boissy, A., Terlouw, C. and Le Neindre, P. (1998) Presence of cues from stressed conspecifics increases reactivity to aversive events in cattle: Evidence for the existence of alarm substances in urine. Physiology and Behaviour 63: 489–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Boivin, X., Le Neindre, P. and Chupin, J.M. (1992) Establishment of cattle-human relationships. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 32: 325–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bonfiglioli, A.M. (1988) Dudal: Histoire de Famille et Histoire de Troupeau Chez un Groupe de Wodaabe du Niger, Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Bonfiglioli, M.A. (1981) Ngaynaaka. Herding According to the Wodaabe. Niger Range and Livestock Project, Discussion Paper n. 2, Republic of Niger, Ministry of Rural Development and USAID/Niger, Tahoua.Google Scholar
  13. Boudet, G. (1979) Quelques observations sur les fluctuations du couvert végétal sahélien au Gourma Malien et leurs conséquences pour une stratégie de gestion sylvo-pastorale. Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 184: 31–44.Google Scholar
  14. Boudet, G. (1984) L’exploitation des parcours et la conduite des troupeaux dans les systèmes d’élevage. Cahiers de la Recherche Développement 3–4: 97–101.Google Scholar
  15. Bouissou, M.F., Boissy, A., Le Neindre, P. and Veissier, I. (2001) The social behaviour of cattle. In: L. Keeling and H. Gonyou (eds.) Social Behaviour in Farm Animals. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.Google Scholar
  16. Boutrais, J. (1995) Hautes Terres d’Élevage au Cameroun, 2 Vols. OSTROM Éditions, Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement et la Coopération. Paris: Collection Études et Thèses.Google Scholar
  17. Breman, H. and De Wit, C.T. (1983) Rangeland productivity and exploitation in the Sahel. Science, New Series 221 (4618): 1341–1347.Google Scholar
  18. Breman, H. and Ridder (de), N. (1991) Manuel sur les pâturages des pays sahéliens. Paris: Editions Karthala.Google Scholar
  19. Breuer, K., Hemsworth, P.H., Barnett, J.L., Matthews, L.R. and Coleman, G. (2000) Behavioural response to humans and the productivity of commercial dairy cows. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 66 (4): 273–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Brewer, T.K. (2005) Livestock grazing distribution patterns: Does animal age matter? http://www.cnr.uidaho.edu/range556/Appl_BEHAVE/projects/livestock_distribution.html.
  21. Burnham, P. (1979) Spatial mobility and political centralization in pastoral societies. In: Pastoral Production and Society (ed.) Équipe écologie et anthropologie des sociétés pastorals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 349–360.Google Scholar
  22. Da Silva, S.C. and Carvalho, P.C.F. (2005) Foraging behaviour and herbage intake in the favourable tropics/sub-tropics. Paper presented at the XX International Grassland Congress ‘Grassland a Global Resource’; 26 June-1 July, University College, Dublin, Ireland.Google Scholar
  23. de Passillé, A.M.B. and Rushen, J. (1999) Are you a source of stress or comfort for your cows?. In: J. Kennelly (ed.) Advances in Dairy Technology Vol 11: Proceedings of the 1999 Western Canadian Dairy Seminar. Edmonton: University of Edmonton, pp. 347–360.Google Scholar
  24. Dupire, M. (1962) Peuls nomades: étude descriptive des WoDaabe du Sahel Nigérien, Travaux et Mémoires 64. Paris: Institut d′Ethnologie.Google Scholar
  25. Dupire, M. (1970) Organisation Sociale des Peuls. Étude d′éthnographie comparée. Paris: Livrairie Plon.Google Scholar
  26. Dyson-Hudson, N. (1958) The Present Position of the Karimojong: A Preliminary General Survey, with Recommendations, Produced for the Government of Uganda. Oxford University: Institute of Social Anthropology.Google Scholar
  27. Ellis, J.E. and Swift, D.M. (1988) Stability of African pastoral ecosystems: Alternate paradigms and implications for development. Journal of Range Management 41: 450–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Givens, D.I., Owen, E., Axford, R.F.E. and Omed, H.M. (eds.) (2001) Forage Evaluation in Ruminant Nutrition. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.Google Scholar
  29. Grandin, T. (1987) Animal handling. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 3 (2): 323–338.Google Scholar
  30. Gulliver, P.H. (1975) Nomadic movements: Causes and implications. In: T. Monod (ed.) Pastoralism in Tropical Africa. London: Oxford University Press, pp. 369–386.Google Scholar
  31. Hardy, M.B., Meissner, H.H. and O'Reagain, P.J. (1997) Forage intake and free-ranging ruminants: A tropical perspective. In: J.G. Buchanan-Smith, L.D. Bailey and P. McCaughey (eds.) Proceedings of the 18th International Grassland Congress; 8–9 June, Winnipeg, Canada.Google Scholar
  32. Hemsworth, P.H., Price, E.O. and Borgwardt, R. (1996) Behavioural responses of domestic pigs and cattle to humans and novel stimuli. Applied Animal Behavior Science 50: 43–56, http://www.wcds.afns.ualberta.ca/Proceedings/1999/chap30.htm.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hiernaux, P., Cissé, M.I., Diarra, L. and De Leeuw, P.N. (1994) Fluctuations saisonnières de la feuillaison des arbres et des buissons sahéliens. Conséquences pour la quantification des ressources fourragères. Revue d′Elevage et de Medecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux 47 (1): 117–125.Google Scholar
  34. Hiernaux, P. et al (2009) Sahelian rangeland response to changes in rainfall over two decades in the Gourma region, Mali. Journal of Hydrology 375: 114–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hogg, R. (ed.) (1997) Pastoralists, Ethnicity and the State in Ethiopia. London: Haan Publishing.Google Scholar
  36. Hughes, R.N. (ed.) (1993) Diet Selection: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Foraging Behaviour. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  37. IIED and SOS Sahel. (2009) Modern and Mobile. The Future of Livestock Production in Africa's Drylands. In: H. de Jode (ed.) London: International Institute for Environment and Development and SOS Sahel International UK.Google Scholar
  38. Kim, D. (1995) Effect of plant maturity, cutting, growth stage, and harvesting time on forage quality. PhD dissertation, USU, Logan, UT.Google Scholar
  39. Knierim, U. and Waran, N.K. (1993) The influence of the human–animal interaction in the milking parlour on the behaviour, heart-rate and milk yield of dairy cows. In: M. Nichelmann, H.K. Wierenga and S. Braun (eds.) Proceedings of the International Congress on Applied Ethnology. Berlin, Germany: Humboldt Universität, Institut für Verhaltensbiologie und Zoologie.Google Scholar
  40. Krätli, S. (2007) Cows who choose domestication: Generation and management of domestic animal diversity by WoDaaBe Pastoralists (Niger). PhD thesis, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.Google Scholar
  41. Krätli, S. (2008a) Cattle breeding, complexity and mobility in a structurally unpredictable environment: The WoDaaBe herders of Niger. Nomadic Peoples 12 (1): 11–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Krätli, S. (2008b) Future Scenario Planning with WoDaaBe Herders in Niger. Final Report, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London.Google Scholar
  43. Launchbaugh, K.L., Mosley, J.C. and Sanders, K.D. (eds) (1999a) Grazing Behavior in Livestock and Wildlife, Pacific Northwest Range Short Course, Station Bulletin No. 70 Moscow, ID: University of Idaho.Google Scholar
  44. Launchbaugh, K.L., Walker, J.W. and Taylor, C.A. (1999b) Foraging behavior: Experience or inheritance? In: K.L. Launchbaugh, J.C. Mosley and K.D. Sanders (eds.) Grazing Behavior in Livestock and Wildlife, Pacific Northwest Range Short Course, Station Bulletin No. 70 Moscow, ID: University of Idaho.Google Scholar
  45. Lazo, A. (1994) Social segregation and the maintenance of social stability in a feral cattle population. Animal Behaviour 48 (5): 1133–1141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lensink, J., Fernandez, X., Boivin, X., Pradel, P., LeNeindre, P. and Veissier, I. (2000) The impact of gentle contacts on ease of handling, welfare, and growth of calves and on quality of veal meat. Journal of Animal Science 78: 1219–1226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mandelbrot, B. and Taleb, N.N. (2006) A focus on the exceptions that prove the rule. Financial Times, 23 March.Google Scholar
  48. Mandelbrot, B.B. and Hudson, R.L. (2004) The Misbehaviour of Markets: A Fractal View of Financial Turbulence: A Fractal View of Risk, Ruin, and Reward. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  49. Mayland, H.F. (2000) Diurnal variation in forage quality affects preference and production, http://www.uwex.edu/ces/forage/wfc/proceedings2000/mayland.htm.
  50. O'Reagain, P.J. and Schwartz, J. (1995) Dietary selection and foraging strategies of animals on rangeland. Coping with spatial and temporal variability. In: M. Journet, E. Grenet, M-H. Farce, M. Theriez and C. Demarquilly (eds.) Recent Developments in the Nutrition of Herbivores. Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on the Nutrition of Herbivores; 11–15 September, Clermont-Ferrand (France); Paris: Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, http://www2.hu-berlin.de/agrar/ntoe/asia/lectures-hjs/livest-ecol/04-Lit.pdf.Google Scholar
  51. Orr, R.J., Rutter, S.M., Penning, P.D., Yarrow, H.H., Atkinson, L.D. and Champion, R.A. (1998) Matching Grass Supply to Grazing Patterns for Dairy Cows under Strip-grazing Management. Report of Instit. Grassld. Environ. Res., North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon, EX20 2SB, UK.Google Scholar
  52. Pajor, E.A., Rushen, J. and de Passillé, A.M.B. (2000) Aversion learning techniques to evaluate dairy cattle handling practices. Applied Animal Behavior Science 69: 89–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Prins, H.H.T. (1996) Ecology and Behaviour of the African Buffalo: Social Inequality and Decision Making. London: Chapman & Hall.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Provenza, F.D. (2003) Foraging Behavior: Managing to Survive in a World of Change. Logan, UT: Utah State University.Google Scholar
  55. Provenza, F.D. and Balph, D.F. (1987) Diet learning by domestic ruminants: Theory, evidence and practical implications. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 18: 211–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Provenza, F.D. and Cincotta, R.P. (1993) Foraging as a self-organizational learning process: Accepting adaptability at the expense of predictability. In: R.N. Hughes (ed.) Diet Selection: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Foraging Behaviour. London: Blackwell Science.Google Scholar
  57. Reinhardt, V. and Reinhardt, A. (1981) Cohesive relationships in a cattle herd (Bos indicus). Behaviour 77: 121–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Roe, E., Huntsinger, L. and Labnow, K. (1998) High-reliability pastoralism versus risk-averse pastoralism. Journal of Environment and Development 7 (4): 387–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Roe, E. and Schulman, P.R. (2008) High Reliability Management: Operating on the Edge. Standford, CA: Stanford Business Books, Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Rushen, J., De Passillé, A.M. and Munksgaard, L. (1997) Fear of people by cows and effects on milk yield, behavior and heart rate at milking. Journal of Dairy Science 80 (Suppl.1): 202.Google Scholar
  61. Sandford, S. (1983) Management of Pastoral Development in the Third World. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  62. Schareika, N. (2001) Environmental knowledge and pastoral migration among the Wodaabe of South-eastern Niger. Nomadic Peoples 5: 65–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Schareika, N. (2003a) Know to Move, Move to Know: Ecological Knowledge and Herd Movement Strategies Among the Wodaabe of South-eastern Niger. Rome: Fao Inter-departmental Working Group on Biological Diversity for Food and Agriculture.Google Scholar
  64. Schareika, N. (2003b) Westlich der Kälberleine: Nomadische Tierhaltung und naturkundliches Wissen bei den Wodaabe Südostnigers. Berlin, Münster: Lit-Verlag.Google Scholar
  65. Schareika, N. (2007) Söhne des Feuers, Brüder der Milch: Politische Prozesse bei westafrikanischen Nomaden am Beispiel der Wodaabe in Südostniger. Habilitationsschrift: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.Google Scholar
  66. Schareika, N. (2010) Rituell gezeugt: Verwandtschaft als symbolische Interaktion bei den Wodaabe Südostnigers. In: E. Alber, B. Beer, J. Pauli and M. Schnegg (eds.) Verwandtschaft heute. Berlin: Reimer.Google Scholar
  67. Schareika, N., Graef, F., Moser, M. and Becker, K. (2000) Pastoral migration as a method of goal-oriented and site-specific animal nutrition among the Wodaabe of South-eastern Niger. Die Erde 131: 125–141.Google Scholar
  68. Scoones, I. (ed.) (1995) Living with Uncertainty: New Directions in Pastoral Development in Africa. London: Intermediate Technology Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Seabrook, M.F. (1972) A study to determine the influence of the Herdsman's personality on milk yield. Journal of Agricultural Labour Science 1: 45–49.Google Scholar
  70. Seabrook, M.F. (1994) Psychological Interaction between the Milker and the Dairy Cow Dairy Systems for the 21st Century. St. Joseph, MI: ASAE.Google Scholar
  71. Seabrook, M.F. and Bartle, N.C. (1992) Farm Animal and the Environment. Wallingford, UK: CABI.Google Scholar
  72. Sinclair, A.R.E. (1977) The African Buffalo: A Study in Resource Limitations of Populations. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Stenning, D. (1959) Savannah Nomads. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  74. Stobbs, T.H. (1975) Factors limiting the nutritional value of grazed tropical pasture for beef and milk production. Tropical Grassland 9 (2): 141–150.Google Scholar
  75. Sullivan, S. and Rohde, R. (2002) On non-equilibrium in arid and semi-arid grazing systems. Journal of Biogeography 29 (12): 1595–1618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Taleb, N.N. (2007) The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. London: Allen Lane, Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  77. Tongway, D.J., Valentin, Ch. and Seghieri, J. (eds.) (2001) Banded Vegetation Patterning in Arid and Semiarid Environments. Ecological Processes and Consequences for Management, Ecological Studies 149, New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Vetter, S. (ed.) (2005) Rangelands at equilibrium and non-equilibrium: Recent developments in the debate. Journal of Arid Environments 62: 321–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Waiblinger, S. et al (2006) Assessing the human–animal relationship in farmed species: A critical review. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 79: 195–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Waiblinger, S., Menke, C. and Coleman, G. (2002) The relationship between attitudes, personal characteristics and behaviour of stockpeople and subsequent behaviour and production of dairy cows. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 79: 195–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IUAES Commission on Nomadic PeoplesUK
  2. 2.Institut für EthnologieGöttingen, Germany

Personalised recommendations