Governments and non-governmental organizations seeking to improve the well-being of herders in the arid and semi-arid rangelands of East Africa and the Greater Horn of Africa often receive contradictory recommendations on how to address land degradation through changing grazing management.
Herders in the region face difficult challenges from frequent droughts, population pressure, conflict over land, livestock disease, and restricted pasture access.
In some areas, overgrazing results in land degradation, which when severe compromises pasture productivity and can cause massive soil erosion (see photo).
Not only are these problems of deathly seriousness to herders in the region, but poverty, conflict, and food insecurity in these drylands cripple development and threaten the stability of regional governments, triggering millions in international support, each and every year.
Considering this long list of problems, how highly should changing grazing management to prevent or reverse rangeland degradation be prioritized in general, and where should degradation be a top priority?