The United Nations continues to see pastoralism as a main reason for desertification, says Drynet, a global initiative on drylands. But a large number of scientific studies contradict this, and instead show the positive effects of pastoralism as a land-use strategy.
LPP’s Ilse Koehler-Rollefson and Silke Brehm have collated some of the bright aspects of pastoralism.
Strengthening local initiatives, using resources sustainably
Endogenous livestock development means putting small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists at the centre of their own development. It means building on what they already do, and supporting their initiatives to improve their livelihoods, instead of imposing “solutions” from outside.
LPP and the Endogenous Livestock Development Network have published a 24-page booklet outlining the endogenous livestock development approach and introducing the ELD Network.
Booklet (786 kb)
Visit the Endogenous Livestock Development Network
Every month, one more livestock breed becomes extinct…
This 8-page booklet and accompanying poster, published by the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development and the LIFE Network, highlight the issues and offer some solutions.
Booklet 393 kb (in English)
Poster 423 kb (in English and German)
Consultancy Report to the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development
An analysis of the impact of capital-intensive livestock production and how it affects resource-poor smallholders.
PDF 726 kb
Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, H. S. Rathore and E. Mathias. Tropical Animal Health and Production. 22 Nov 2008.
In South Asia, and throughout the developing world, the predominant official approach to livestock development has been improvement of production by means of upgrading local breeds via cross-breeding with exotic animals. This strategy has led to the replacement and dilution of locally adapted breeds with non-native ones. This has resulted in an alarming loss that has been estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to amount to one breed every two weeks. Based on selected case studies this paper argues that development strategies using locally adapted breeds and species are much more likely to benefit livestock keepers whilst also maintaining domestic animal diversity and bearing a smaller ecological footprint. It also analyses the rationale for “Livestock Keepers’ Rights”, a principle that grew out of the struggle of traditional livestock keepers to retain control over their production resources, such as grazing areas and breeding stock, in the face of unfavourable policy environments.
Draft version (93 kb)
Smallholder farmers and pastoralists fulfil an invaluable yet undervalued role in conserving biodiversity. They act as guardians of locally adapted livestock breeds that can make use of even marginal environments under tough climatic conditions and therefore are a crucial resource for food security and possibly for adapting to climate change. But in addition, by sustaining animals on natural vegetation and as part of local ecosystems, these communities also make a significant contribution to the conservation of wild biodiversity and of cultural landscapes.
The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources acknowledges and seeks to support this crucial contribution of smallholder farmers and pastoralists to keeping our planet healthy and diverse. The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues backs up this strategic approach and calls for it to be strengthened, while the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity also commits its signatories to support in situ conservation by local and indigenous communities.
This publication provides a glimpse into the often intricate knowledge systems that pastoralists and smallholder farmers have developed for the management of their breeds in specific production systems. It also describes the multitude of threats and challenges these often marginalized communities have to cope with and suggests interventions that can sustain valuable human-animal-environment relationships and combine conservation of breeds and their ecosystems with poverty alleviation.
Prepared by Ilse Köhler-Rollefson (LPP) with contributions from Evelyn Mathias (LPP) and Irene Hoffmann (FAO)
- Economic and ecological roles of smallholder farmers and pastoralists
- Creators and guardians of breeds
- Why livestock keepers give up their breeds
- Motivation and incentives to keep a breed
- Improving small-scale livestock keepers’ participation in the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources
Citation: FAO. 2009. Livestock keepers – Guardians of biodiversity. Animal Production and Health Paper 167. Rome.
Why a paradigm shift is needed
Presentation at an international conference on Nurturing Arid Zones for People and the Environment at the Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur, India, 25 November 2009.
Marketing to promote local breeds and improve livelihoods
compete with high-yielding exotic breeds. Conserving these breeds is important: many have unique traits, such as hardiness and disease resistance, that are vital for future livestock production. One way to help ensure their survival may be to sell products from these breeds to high-value, specialist markets.
The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources acknowledges the importance of market access to the sustainable use of livestock diversity and calls for development of markets for products derived from local species and breeds, and for strengthening processes that add value to their products.
This publication describes eight examples of marketing of livestock products (wool, cashmere, milk, meat and hides) from local breeds of Bactrian camels, dromedaries, goats and sheep in seven countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It shows how they have kept local breeds in use, while enabling the small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists who raise them to improve their livelihoods.
LPP, LIFE Network, IUCN–WISP and FAO. 2010. Adding value to livestock diversity – Marketing to promote local breeds and improve livelihoods. FAO Animal Production and Health Paper 168. Rome.
Download from pastoralpeoples.org
Download from FAO
Download from IUCN
Schloss Lichtenberg im Odenwald, 19. Mai 2010
International conference on Livestock Keepers’ Rights and Biodiversity
Lichtenberg Castle, Odenwald, 19 May 2010
A report of a conference organized by the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development. Summarizes presentations and discussions by livestock keepers and specialists from Germany, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Spain and Tanzania. In German.
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