Change language

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the popular perception of rangelands and their management is that these vast areas have major problems without solutions: the common narrative focuses on overgrazing, herds of undernourished livestock, erosion and desertification, drought, famine, and conflict.

However, evidence compiled and analysed in this book show that such a view of rangelands – as being unproductive and mismanaged systems – does not reflect reality. It needs reconsideration and revision.

The overall goal of the guidelines is to demonstrate – through a unique set of convincing case studies and their analysis as well as the development of guiding principles – the value and potential of investment in rangelands.

Rangelands take pride of place among Sub-Saharan Africa’s varied ecosystems. They make up nearly half (48 percent) of the land, or up to 62 percent if woodlands are included, and provide a rich range of resources, including soils, water, vegetation and genetic diversity. These landscapes also have a critical role to play in achieving multiple development gains, including food and nutrition security, water, rural jobs, livelihoods and growth in rapidly transforming economies; climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts; as well as peace, security, stability and natural resource-related conflict prevention.

More specifically, Sub-Saharan Africa’s rangelands feed over 55 percent of Africa’s livestock and provide a major source of income to 268 million pastoralists and agro-pastoralists, including in some of the most vulnerable areas.

These Guidelines on Sustainable Rangeland Management in Sub-Saharan Africa come at a critical moment. Rangelands are under growing pressure from land degradation as well as crop and urban land expansion, among other threats.
Moreover, the capacity of rangelands to sustainably supply markets will be tested over the coming decade as the global and regional demand for beef and sheep continues to grow.