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Research boosts transition to climate-smart livestock management in East Africa

Research boosts transition to climate-smart livestock management in East Africa

The project’s kick-off webinar will be held on Monday, 17 May 2021 from 9.00 to 13.00.

Livestock management and nomadism are the primary source of livelihood for nearly 300 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. Some 40% of the land area of the continent is composed of arid or semi-arid areas which are not well suited to plant propagation but where livestock keeping is possible. In Ethiopia and Kenya, the share of livestock management of the gross domestic product generated by the agricultural sector is close to 20%. For centuries, nomads have had the capacity to adapt to challenging climate conditions by taking advantage of controlled grazing, but the spread of commercial agriculture, population growth, changes in land ownership and the increased prevalence of extreme weather phenomena brought about by climate change threaten the nomadic way of life and weaken the food safety of households practising livestock management.

The depletion of water resources, which are vital for livestock management, and the drying of grazing lands are the result of a change taking place in land use on the landscape level, with forests and bushes cleared into cropland and pastures as well as cut down for firewood. The disappearance of trees from uplands affects the hydrology of water catchment areas by reducing the capacity of ecosystems to catch and restore water, on which the agropastoral livelihoods of the inhabitants of lowlands and plains depend. The clearing of forests and wood consumption also generate greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the carbon stocks in the area.

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