It is easy, too easy, for scientists and others to shy away from engaging in political issues such as land rights, even though they are a key factor in the ability of populations to eke a living from the land and to feed themselves. But without secure land rights, more powerful actors can appropriate land from local land users, sell or lease it, or change its use. Without secure land rights, land users are more likely to exploit and pollute resources, and less likely to invest in longer-term processes to improve land productivity. And without secure land rights people can feel lost and without a sense of place or home.
The world’s pastoralists—livestock herders who move their animals to track spatially and temporally distributed resources—are particularly vulnerable to displacement and loss of their livelihoods. Insecure land rights mean that lands they have used for centuries are appropriated for other uses: riverine dry season grazing areas are leased to investors for irrigated agriculture crop schemes, high biodiversity areas are enclosed for national parks and access prevented, and livestock routes are blocked by private landholdings and infrastructure. Gradually the rangelands are being fragmented, lost, and pastoral livelihoods are being compromised.
Fiona Flintan, a rangelands governance scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) shares on the Global Rangelands Initiative which works to redress the challenges facing local rangeland users
This post has been submitted for the ‘Talking Science’ blogs under the CGIAR Development Dialogues social media competitions
Read the full post and vote here