The dynamics of natural resources in Somaliland - implications for livestock production.


Agriculture is the most important sector of Somaliland's economy. In 2012, the sector contributed more than 40% of Somaliland's GDP - with the livestock sub-sector contributing 29.5%. Livestock production in the country is mainly extensive in pastoral systems that rely on fragile natural resources. The objective of this study was to investigate and document the current natural resources relevant to livestock production in Somaliland, identify the major drivers of land and resource use including landscape functions, and to identify pastoralists' existing strategies to adapt to changes in land use in the country. Traditionally, pastoralists have governed water access and grazing in their lands through institutions, rules and regulations. The study showed that increasingly there are multiple claims on natural resources and land in Somaliland and that these competing claims are being exacerbated by climate stress, in conjunction with other factors such as population growth and urbanization. Water points and water access are at the centre of these claims. However, these water points and the surrounding areas are increasingly settled, and often enclosed, by pastoralists who have lost their animals. Setters have also established enclosures for production of crops and fodder. This effectively blocks the transhumance routes and herders' access to the water vital to their livelihoods, damaging livestock production and herders' adaptive capacity. This is exacerbated by the practice of harvesting trees around the settlements to make charcoal, which further degrades community pastures. As such, there is increasing likelihood of conflict between pastoralists and settlers. This report discusses two policy options designed to reduce land degradation and increase the adaptability to climate change: communal rangeland management, and land-use planning for pastoral corridors and areas. The development and effective implementation of either of these policies requires a strong participatory approach that involves pastoralists. This report also discusses how emerging new earth observation technologies could be a game changer in supporting the monitoring of these policies from the sky.

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