Exploring appropriate livelihood alternatives for sustainable rangeland managementExploring appropriate livelihood alternatives for sustainable rangeland management
Faculty of Applied Economics
Faculty of Law
Research group
Government and Law
Faculteit Toegepaste Economische Wetenschappen
Publication type
Source (journal)
The rangeland journal
37(2015):4, p. 345-356
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Rangeland degradation and vulnerability of livelihoods are two major challenges facing pastoralists, rangeland managers and policy-makers in arid and semi-arid areas. There is a need to make holistic informed decisions in order to protect rangelands and sustain livelihoods. Through a comprehensive literature review on rangeland management policies and livelihood strategies of rangeland users, it is shown how such policies have affected sustainable rangeland management, how strategies to sustain livelihoods have been incomplete and how there has been a lack of a multi-disciplinary approach in acknowledging them. Accordingly, a set of appropriate livelihood alternatives is introduced and, thenceforth, a framework for their evaluation is developed. Supportive strategies for enhancing resilience are discussed as a research and policy-making gap. In this study, the keys to achieve sustainable livelihoods are acknowledged as livelihoods resilience, where livelihoods need to be supported by access to capital, means of coping with the contexts of vulnerability as well as by enhancing policies, institutions and processes. The paper proposes a set of livestock-based livelihoods regarding traditional pastoralism as well as their mitigation and adaptation. Moreover, their transformation to commercial pastoralism, resource-based livelihoods, alternative livelihoods and migration strategies is recognised to be employed by rangeland users as useful alternatives in different regions and under future changing conditions including climate change. These strategies embrace thinking on resilience and are supported by strategies that address social and ecological consequences of climate change consisting of mitigation, adaptation and transformation. It is argued that sustainable livelihoods and sustainable rangeland management will be achieved if they are supported by policies that build and facilitate a set of appropriate livelihood alternatives and keep them in a sustainable state rather than being limited to supporting vulnerable livelihoods. Finally, future directions for analysing and policy-making in selecting the best alternative to achieve sustainable livelihoods are indicated.