Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
Department of Livestock Ecology, Tropical Sciences Centre Justus-Liebig University, D-35390 Giessen, Germany
Situated in Northwestern Nigeria, the 2,300 km Zamfara forest reserve is one of the largest reserves established by the colonial administration. Theregion has a semi-arid climate with eight months of dry season and a mean annual precipitation of about 620mm. The vegetation can be described as tree savanna with a transition to shrub savanna. The ranges of the ecosystem support the production of ruminant livestock where cattle, sheep, goats and camels are grazed in mixed herding groups. The animal production systems can be differentiated by their level of mobility as well as the extent of crop farming activities. Three such distinctions can be made viz: settled (agropastoralism), transhumant and nomadic production systems. These groups utilize the ranges as major feed sources but supplemented with crop residues, browse, concentrates and salt. Animal productivity is largely determined by thelevel and quality of feed resource utilization. The level of herd and crop productivity goes a long way in fulfilling household needs. Food and economic crops grown include sorghum, millet, cowpeas, groundnuts and cotton. Most of these are cropped outside and on the reserve fringes since farming is prohibited inside the reserve. Over the years, as a result of population and market-driven forces, there has been an increased incidence of farm encroachment in the reserve aswell as on the cattle routes. This is resulting in resource-use conflicts between different producing groups thereby precipitating resource management crisis. Experiences from the Zamfara reserve indicate that policies aimed at ensuring easy mobility of the herds as well as protecting the bio-genetic resources are of great importance for the sustainable production and utilization of the ecosystem. Since both crop and animal producers have a common resource-base for their production activities, there is a need to ensure variability, sustainability and a juxtaposition of the production systems towards a proper utilization and management of available resources by all producing groups. This will ensure ecological and social balance in the use and renewal of resources.