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close this bookThe Improvement of Tropical and Subtropical Rangelands (BOSTID)
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View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentPanel on the improvement of tropical and subtropical rangelands
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View the documentNational research council staff
View the documentPreface
close this folderOverview: Dimensions of a worldwide environmental crisis
View the documentThe geographical scope
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close this folderPart I
close this folderIntroduction
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close this folderThe nature of tropical and subtropical rangelands
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View the documentRange classification
View the documentSocial system-ecosystem interactions
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close this folderThe social context for rangeland improvement
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View the documentProduction systems in tropical and subtropical regions
View the documentContext of environmental degradation
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close this folderThe economic context
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View the documentRange systems
View the documentThe basis of range economics
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View the documentDetermining costs and benefits
View the documentResource evaluation
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close this folderRegional resource assessment
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View the documentInformation needs
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close this folderSite evaluation
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View the documentAn ecosystem perspective
View the documentA systems approach to site evaluation
View the documentEvaluation of abiotic and biotic components
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close this folderGrazing management
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View the documentGrazing management concepts
View the documentTime of grazing
View the documentDistribution of grazing
View the documentType of animal grazing
View the documentNumber of animals grazing
View the documentGrazing management planning
View the documentGrazing management systems
View the documentLivestock management
View the documentThe herima system in Mali
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close this folderRehabilitation techniques
View the documentEstablishing plants on the range
View the documentNatural revegetation
View the documentDirect seeding
View the documentImprovement of tropical and subtropical rangelands
View the documentSelected practices
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close this folderCriteria for plant selection
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View the documentSocioeconomic and management considerations in feasibility studies
View the documentAdaptation to ecoclimatic conditions
View the documentAdaptation to soils
View the documentAdaptation to physiography, geomorphology, topography, slope, and aspect
View the documentAbility of introduced species to compete with native vegetation
View the documentUse regimes
View the documentAvailability of seeds and plant materials
View the documentMaintenance of biological diversity
View the documentPlant improvement
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close this folderPart II
View the documentIntroduction to the case studies
close this folderPastoral regimes of Mauritania
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View the documentPhysical geography
View the documentMigration cycle
close this folderThe Beni Mguild of Morocco
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close this folderThe Kel Tamasheq
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close this folderDromedary pastoralism in Africa and Arabia
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View the documentReproduction and risk
View the documentManagement and labor
View the documentSubsistence production
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View the documentPredatory pastoralism
View the documentThe future of camel pastoralism
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close this folderThe mountain nomads of Iran: Basseri and Bakhtiari
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View the documentThe physical environment
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close this folderThe Marri Baluch of Pakistan
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View the documentPhysical environment
View the documentSeasons and migrations
View the documentA mixed economic system
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close this folderChanging patterns of resource use in the Bedthi-Aghanashini valleys of Karnataka state, India
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe setting
View the documentHuman communities
View the documentTraditional patterns of resource management
View the documentColonial period
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close this folderKenya: Seeking remedies for desert encroachment
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentBackground
View the documentTraditional pastoralism
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View the documentVegetation and livestock
View the documentDirections for the future
close this folderThe hema system in the Arabian peninsula
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View the documentRights of ownership or use
View the documentThe hema system in Saudi Arabia
View the documentThe mahmia or marah, and the koze system in Syria
View the documentNeglect of the hema and its consequences
View the documentHema in the range improvement and conservation programs in the near east
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close this folderWildlife land use at the Athi River, Kenya
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close this folderCamel husbandry in Kenya: Increasing the productivity of ranchland
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentLocation
View the documentVegetation
View the documentLivestock
View the documentIntroduction of camels
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View the documentReproduction and lactation
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close this folderThe potential of faidherbia albida for desertification control and increased productivity in Chad
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View the documentCharacteristics of faidherbia albida
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View the documentImproving Nigeria's animal feed resources: Pastoralists and scientists cooperate in fodder bank research
close this folderBoard on science technology for international development
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View the documentMembers

(introduction...)

The previous chapter dealt with the behavioral characteristics of groups of people living on, or using, arid and semiarid lands. This chapter focuses on the economic behavior of the individual or the individual household.

Economic analysis of pastoral management practices has proved difficult for several reasons. First, many analysts have a tendency to consider the household as one homogeneous decision-making unit, with the "head" of the household as the decision-making director. In fact, households are heterogeneous and not always clearly defined, and decision-making is generally delegated to a large number of individual household members who may not share the same interests. Surveys that used the (male) family head as the sampling or observation unit have therefore yielded incomplete or biased data, leading to biased conclusions.

Second, many studies have limited the focus of the analysis to one aspect of household activities - only land management or only animal performance, for example. These single-commodity approaches fail to incorporate interactions among various household enterprises. Therefore, the predictive value of the analysis for household behavior is low.

Third, any economic analysis is based upon the identification of determinants and their impact. Even when successful in identifying important factors, allocating values ("impact") to these factors has proved extremely difficult. In resource-poor environments such as arid rangelands, the assessment of values is highly time- and location specific. Not only do values vary over time and space, but also among individuals, households, tribes, and generations. The cost (negative value) of soil degradation will be felt more by future generations than by present ones (who might be causing the degradation).

Fourth, and related to the third point, is the difficulty in assessing the social costs and benefits (as opposed to the private values). Communal grazing is believed to occur with virtually no cost to the herders, but with possible social costs (in the case of overgrazing) to the society as a whole. In the same vein, the long-term costs are not necessarily the same as the short-term costs. This problem is aggravated by the fact that the life span of range management projects is generally limited to 10 years or less, even in projects that attempt to deal with long-term problems, such as desertification and erosion. Another example of social costs is the negative effect that a project might have on resources or persons outside the project are a . For example , the development of a pocket of highly productive rangeland for crop cultivation might have a negative impact on the usefulness of the surrounding low-quality rangeland because during a drought period cattle would not have access to a highly productive forage source (Sanford, 1983). Other social costs or benefits include the impact of interventions on employment and equity.

Finally, we cannot overlook the fact that many projects have failed for reasons other than inadequate economic analysis. For example, biological scientists and technicians have often provided projects with short-term, single-commodity technical input-output relationships that have contributed to illusionary expectations of possible changes in management behavior.

For some time, pastoralists have therefore been labeled "irrational," but this allegation has been refuted by a growing number of case studies. Cattle portfolio models developed in industrial countries have found useful applications in pastoral situations (Jarvis, 1980; Ariza-Nino and Shapiro, 1984), and elements of African and Asian range management systems are finding application in industrialized countries (National Research Council, 1984).