Pastoralism has a comparative advantage in variable environments

Based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Fiona Flintan is Rangelands Governance Scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute and is Technical Coordinator for the International Land Coalition’s Rangelands Initiative. She also offered a short video commentary on the PASTRES project at our launch last year.

She argues that pastoralism has a comparative advantage where variability dominates environmental and social aspects. Pastoralism is an adaptive system, able to cope with variations. However, as pastoral areas change, institutional and governance contexts alter.

New opportunities open up for example through land registration and the granting of land rights to pastoralists, she argues. This may offer new certainties through more secure access to land, but also generate other uncertainties as land rights are contested. Thinking about uncertainty in the context of dynamic change is essential.

The PASTRES project, Fiona argues, can provide the necessary evidence based for more informed and robust decision-making and policy formulation. Clear messages, backed up by solid evidence and of relevance to policy issues, are essential, she says.

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