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close this bookReversing the Spiral - The Population, Agriculture, and Environment Nexus in Sub-Saharan Africa (WB, 1994, 320 p.)
close this folder10. Managing the natural resource base
View the documentProduction versus protection
View the documentForests
View the documentNatural resource management in farming areas
View the documentDryland and range areas
View the documentWater
View the documentCommon elements
View the documentThe role of governments
View the documentNational environmental action plans

Dryland and range areas

Many dryland and range areas will, like forest areas, require special protection. Actions in the agricultural, livestock, infrastructure, land tenure, and population spheres along the Lines set out in previous chapters will be necessary, but not sufficient. Since agricultural technology adapted to dryland areas is so marginal, land tenure reform so exceedingly difficult to implement, and carrying capacity so low, sustainable management of dryland areas will be very problematic.

Land use planning will be important, since there are tradeoffs and potential conflicts here as well among the traditionally predominating pastoralists, new settlers who are moving into the better areas to farm, fuelwood collectors, and the preservation of biodiversity. Many pastoral areas contain forests and wildlands. Resolving land disputes is an important aspect of the solution to these problems, including that of ensuring adequate fuelwood supplies in drier areas. The management of rangeland by local people, grouped into voluntary and self-governing associations, is the most effective tool for managing these resource systems. But these associations must be provided undisputed ownership of, or assured long term user rights to, the land and the associated water and vegetation if they are to manage them.

Two recent reviews of key issues in Sahelian dryland management highlighted a number of essential concerns that should be observed in attempts to ensure sustainable management and development (Nekby 1990; Shanmugaratnam and others 1992). These include the research and extension of appropriate crop and livestock technologies that are both soil conserving and more profitable for farmers and herdsmen, land tenure reform to eliminate open access, reduction of population growth through outrnigradon, and promotion of rural industries to reduce the pressure on land One of these reviews (Nekby 199O) also suggested a return to holistic and integrated planning and execution—in effect, a return to the concept of integrated regional development based on land use plans that allocate land for pasture, cropping, reserves and parks, fuelwood production, forests, and other uses .Land ownership would be allocated, including to traditional community or clan owners. Agricultural and livestock technology would be developed to suit each particular agroclimatic situation. The technologies would include considerable soil conservation measures. It is, at present, not possible to envisage an alternative approach in dryland areas.

Local initiative and management need to be mobilized to manage range, pasture, and dryland areas—in a manner similar to that outlined above for forest areas. Where traditional, community-based authority still exists, group land {isles or secure long-term user rights should be provided. AS in the case of forests and farmland, it is through the ownership of land and the associated natural resources, or at least the assurance of secure long-term exclusive use rights, that local participation in sustainable resource management can be mobilized and maintained. In better watered grazing areas, individual ownership of livestock farms will be possible {although crop farming may prove to be a more remunerative use of land and labor in many such situations), but this will be rarely feasible on drylands because of the patchy availability of water and the need for seasonal livestock movement. But exclusion of others—i.e., elimination of open-access conditions—is essential.

At the same time, local communities and individuals need to be supported in planning and managing resource use, particularly in view of the increasing limitations imposed on the geographic mobility of pastoralists' herds. The microproject funds which some donors have begun to establish are a suitable instrument to provide critically needed

Box 10-3 Global Cost-Sharing of Tropical Forest Conservation

The benefits of consenting tropical forests will accrue to the entire world, while the costs will have to be borne almost entirely by the countries in which the forests are located. This has stimulated efforts to compensate the producing countries for income foregone as forests are taken out of production and placed under protection. The first such efforts were "debtfor-nature swaps." Although not many swaps have been organized in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is considerable potential for them in many parts of the continent. The principle is that governments set aside as a protected reserve large tracts of forest or wildland, usually managed with the help of an NGO, in return for the purchase of some amount of the country's discounted external debt by that NGO (or organized by it).

Another important recent initiative has been the Global Environment Facility (GEF), under which funds have been made available to countries as compensation for reducing activities that are remunerative but that significantly compromise biodiversity (such as logging), contribute to carbon dioxide emissions (such as forest burning), or produce CFCs. An evaluation of the first phase of the GEF has been published (UNDP, UN, and World Bank 1994). This has helped determine modalities for the second phase. A good candidate for funding under this facility would be the setting aside of intact tropical forests as reserves and parks funding for this purpose. Technical assistance should come through extension agents, knowledgeable about conservation techniques.