A cautionary note for forest landscape restoration in drylands: cattle production systems in northwest Madagascar’s dry forests
It is evident that land tenure security is crucial for successful restoration. Unfortunately, in Madagascar, dry forests are considered unoccupied and unowned even when communities have long-established claims under customary tenure systems. The authors stated that collective tenure recognition efforts were underway in Madagascar, but limited knowledge of agropastoralist cattle production strategies impeded the efforts to develop tenure reforms. The authors examined how cattle raisers in the Boney Region in northwest Madagascar organize pastoral spaces and cattle production strategies in the area’s dry forest.
RESEARCH GOALS & METHODS
The research took place in six rural communities (Marianrano, Betsako, Amalakida, Katsepy, Tsaramandroso, and Ankijabe) in the Boney Region of northwestern Madagascar. The authors collected data through 183 key informant interviews, 47 focus groups, and 23 direct observations. The interview questions examined the effects of tenure arrangements, overgrazing, conflict resolution, and bureaucratic practices on pasture use.
CONCLUSIONS AND TAKEAWAYS
The study identified three types of pastoral spaces used by cattle in the region. They include (1) tany firaofana, a system where cattle graze freely during the day and are controlled by a herder; (2) kijana, extensive pastureland where cattle graze freely but remain day and night; and (3) small plots of open land near the villages where draft animals are staked during the day. The study also identified four types of cattle-raising strategies. Forest landscape restoration initiatives that encourage tree-planting on lands incorrectly presumed to be unowned or unused are among the activities that pose a very real threat to pasturelands, and, ultimately agropastoral livelihoods. The authors suggest that cattle raisers in the Boney region of Madagascar were transitioning from extensive cattle production (livestock graze freely from natural food sources) to semi-extensive and intensive alternatives (livestock are kept at high stocking density and do not graze freely). The authors believe that the issues raised in Madagascar can be applicable throughout sub-Sahara Africa.
A cautionary note for forest landscape restoration in drylands: cattle production systems in northwest Madagascar’s dry forests. Forests, Trees and Livelihoods. 2022;31(2):86 - 103. doi:10.1080/14728028.2022.2059706..
- Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Agronomiques, University of Antananarivo, Antananarivo, Madagascar
- Governance, Equity, and Well-Being, Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia