Community-based Knowledge of Indigenous Vegetation in Arid African Landscapes
This article is based on comparative research conducted in three African countries—Mali, Botswana and Kenya—between 2006 and 2007. The research focuses on local perceptions of biodiversity loss and land degradation in grazing pastures as a result of anthropogenic activities. We show that land degradation can be motivated by climate change, while local overuse of indigenous vegetation can lead to resource conflict. We then examine how changes in indigenous vegetation might influence the livelihood and security of local communities. In drawing key findings common to all three countries, we suggest that the sustainability of indigenous vegetation in dryland ecosystems can be maintained through seasonal mobility of herds, preservation of dry season grazing and improved livestock marketing, and that failure to do so can result in far-reaching consequences for rural communities.