Enhancing the value of ecosystem services in pastoral systems

The project ‘Enhancing the value of ecosystem services in pastoral systems’ is one of five components of the EC/IFAD funded project titled “Water, Land and Ecosystems in Africa’ to be implemented from 2014-2016. The desired outcome of the project is to have policymakers, planners and pastoralists using insights on the role of ecosystems services to support the livelihoods of pastoralists and to identify grazing and rangeland management options that will strengthen livelihoods support over the long-term. Rangeland resources are numerous but the ecosystems are fragile requiring appropriate management strategies to ensure sustainable productivity. A screening of available practices in place together with their impacts on water, biodiversity and forage could help to identify best bet practices. These practices would have the potential to minimize impacts on the environment and therefore grassland degradation allowing farmers and government to promote investment in them. Furthermore, this screening will contribute substantially to the knowledge of pastoral livelihoods and ecosystems in Africa, and the diverse interactions between human uses and the natural environment. The focus is in West Africa in the Volta basin, in Burkina Faso, and in East Africa in the Tana Basin in Kenya.Rangeland resources are numerous but the ecosystems are fragile requiring appropriate management strategies to ensure sustainable productivity. A screening of available practices in place together with their impacts on water, biodiversity and forage could help to identify best bet practices. These practiceswould have the potential to minimize impacts on the environment and therefore grassland degradation allowing farmers and government to promote investment in them. Furthermore, this screening will contribute substantially to the knowledge of pastoral livelihoods and ecosystems in Africa, and the diverse interactions between human uses and the natural environment.Over the three years of the project the following activities are proposed: i) implement an ecosystem services inventories in grassland and rangelands areas in the study zones, and identify changes in their distribution over a twenty years period; ii) review current grazing and rangelands management practices in use and their impacts on water, forage and biodiversity related ecosystem services. Identify thebest practices that can enhance delivery of these ecosystems and the factors that are influencing their implementation; iii) Scenario analysis to assess the potential of improving livelihoods and restore degraded lands as results of the implementation of best practice in the study areas. the project will make use of the Integrated Valuation of Environmental Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) model for the scenario analysis.

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