By Ricki Watkins, LCC CRSP
- Livestock herder-farmer conflicts in West Africa exist due to the impact of transhumance corridors on agriculture.
- To mitigate the conflict, LCC CRSP researchers are working to map out corridors.
- Local communities will be able to use the data to create land-use management plans.
- LCC CRSP researchers are in the third and final phase of corridor mapping.
Seasonally, livestock herders in the West African countries of Mali and Senegal move their herds along specific paths called transhumance corridors. In these corridors, herders move their livestock away from cultivated zones during the rainy seasons and return their livestock to eat crop residue during the early part of the dry season. As the dry season progresses, herders move again, seeking remote grazing pastures for their livestock. During these transits, herders stop at well-defined resting points, usually near water.
Herders use corridors that pass through agricultural cultivation zones, creating problems between farmers and livestock herders. Herds leaving too late after the start of the rainy season can damage recently planted crops and if they return too soon following the rains, they can damage plants before harvest.
In an effort to help communities reduce farmer-herder conflict along livestock transit corridors, LCC CRSP projects GSFA/RIVERS, in Senegal, and MLPI2, in Mali are mapping these corridors, identifying where conflicts are occurring. Researchers are now in the third and final phase of this work.
In the first phase of the project, the team’s trained enumerators worked with local communities to determine the location of the corridors, identify resting points and key resources along the way. In the second phase, the enumerators traveled along the corridors, taking GPS reference points at each resting site and describing the site’s attributes.
In the third phase, the enumerators will conduct a dialog with the local communities to gauge recognition of the corridor stretches and to ensure no corridors or resting points were missed or are inaccurately described. These sessions will start a long-term discussion that will provide support to communities as they develop land use management plans. The plans will help define rules, regulations, penalties and sanctions that will allow use of natural resources by livestock and cultivators, thereby reducing potential conflict between the two groups.
August 2012, in Tambacounda, Senegal, Matthew Turner conducted interview protocol training for seven enumerators as part of the third phase of LCC CRSP research. During the training, Turner identified gaps in corridor data collection. Each enumerator is responsible for corridor identification in a certain administrative district and sometimes a corridor spans two or more districts, creating gaps in the data. During the training, the team made plans to fill these gaps in missing data by collecting data in locations where corridors spanned across districts. Turner accompanied three enumerators to the field to fill in the missing data gaps, reinforce prior GPS training and meet with local community leaders to explain the project’s purpose.
Unfortunately, one component of the project has been on hold since April due to the stop-work order in Mali. Although the order is still in effect, the Mali enumerators did travel to Senegal to receive training for the next phase of work that will be implemented when the stop work order is lifted. Work in Senegal is nearing completion.