Pastoral societies in dryland Africa continue to face changes to their systems. These systems are influenced by a range of historical factors, but little use is made of this information to design policies that suit pastoralists’ landscapes. This article provides a synthesis of historical perspectives on pastoral land use and tenure transformations in Ngamiland, south of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Little documentation of herders’ historical perspectives exists and less is known about how past experiences can be applied to sustainable pastoralism policies. In this article, current land use pressing issues are examined and analysed within the context of past experiences. We use a series of oral histories with key informants, focus group discussions, expert interviews and rangeland field observations. Results show that Nagamiland’s pastoral landscape has been shaped by a variety of factors: livestock diseases, human-wildlife conflicts, droughts, land tenure transformations associated with rangeland policies and the pastoral identity of the Ovaherero/Ovambanderu ethnic groups. Pastoralists have followed unique trajectories, specific to their rangeland conditions and socio-cultural context. Resilience to climate shocks and diseases has been weakened by inequitable patterns of control over rangeland resources. We recommend institutional diversity such that from experiences of the past, lessons can be drawn of processes and institutions required for pastoralism policies targeted pastoralists’ adaptations. Using pastoralists to provide information, especially in the area of indigenous knowledge, strategies can be developed to link conservation of wildlife and rangelands with pastoral production by developing ecologically sensitive low-volume tourism that pastoral communities can tap to diversify their livelihoods.
Pastoralism – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 23, 2017
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