As competition over land and natural resources grows, pressure on protected areas and biodiversity increases. People in the Regional Parc W Heartland tend to earn a living through farming or cattle herding. Unfortunately, there is limited available land, resulting in competition for land between farmers and pastoralists.
Meanwhile, poor land management and farming techniques can lead to the rapid degradation of land and the destruction of key habitats.
The Land for Livelihoods Project, supported by the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), approaches this competition for land from the perspective of holistic management, asking communities how they want their lands and livelihoods to be in 50 to 100 years, and providing them with the tools necessary to make their vision a reality. Specifically, AWF is working with six communities in Niger, Burkina Faso, and Benin on several project components, including land planning, grazing planning, conflict resolution related to land use, new livestock market access, and women’s enterprises.
One of the key messages of the project: With appropriate planning, agriculture and pastoralism need not be incompatible. Pastoralists’ livestock, for example, can provide much-needed fertilizer and land tilling for farmers—while farmers’ open lands can provide pastoralists with a place to temporarily park their herds en route to other pastures.
When fully implemented, Land for Livestock is intended to reverse desertification in the region; improve soil health; improve economic opportunities; and allow for the sustainable coexistence of livestock, agriculture, and wildlife.
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