Theme 7: Capacity--Oral Sessions

Description

Major challenges for rangeland stewardship in the developing world include how to mitigate the spread of pastoral poverty and environmental degradation. Arresting such trends requires a scale of investment, policy incentives, and institutional commitments not previously observed in pastoral development. Indeed, such a rangeland revolution requires several global events to set the stage, namely: (1) Creation of markets for diverse ecosystem services; (2) recognition that improved rangeland stewardship is vital to mitigate climate change; and (3) distribution of green climate funds in support of local projects. New approaches for pastoral development projects are also needed. Previous projects have largely focused on attempts to stimulate commercial livestock offtake, but such efforts often fail. What are the alternatives? Payments to local stakeholders in support of conservation and enhanced ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration may provide one answer, shifting the development debate from livestock (provisioning services) to resource conservation (regulatory and supporting services). Yabelo District on the Borana Plateau of southern Ethiopia provides a basis for a conceptual analysis of such a shift because it has been well-described by diverse data sets. Initial results from a synthesis of ecological and economic information suggests that efforts to promote landscape change via bush control and deferred livestock grazing could increase carbon sequestration by 18% over 10 years, and thus generate annual stipends up to US $731 per capita for a population around 103,000. This poverty-mitigating action would require a global carbon price of USD $106 per ton; similar income goals could be achieved at a carbon price of USD $53 per ton if the population eligible for payment was cut in half. Annual fluctuation in carbon prices, unreliability of local markets for food purchases, up-front costs for preparatory land management at USD $1.2 M/year, and need for resource monitoring/compliance are major project challenges.

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Conceptualizing Pastoral Development Based on Carbon Sequestration: The Case of Yabelo District in the Southern Ethiopian Rangelands

Major challenges for rangeland stewardship in the developing world include how to mitigate the spread of pastoral poverty and environmental degradation. Arresting such trends requires a scale of investment, policy incentives, and institutional commitments not previously observed in pastoral development. Indeed, such a rangeland revolution requires several global events to set the stage, namely: (1) Creation of markets for diverse ecosystem services; (2) recognition that improved rangeland stewardship is vital to mitigate climate change; and (3) distribution of green climate funds in support of local projects. New approaches for pastoral development projects are also needed. Previous projects have largely focused on attempts to stimulate commercial livestock offtake, but such efforts often fail. What are the alternatives? Payments to local stakeholders in support of conservation and enhanced ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration may provide one answer, shifting the development debate from livestock (provisioning services) to resource conservation (regulatory and supporting services). Yabelo District on the Borana Plateau of southern Ethiopia provides a basis for a conceptual analysis of such a shift because it has been well-described by diverse data sets. Initial results from a synthesis of ecological and economic information suggests that efforts to promote landscape change via bush control and deferred livestock grazing could increase carbon sequestration by 18% over 10 years, and thus generate annual stipends up to US $731 per capita for a population around 103,000. This poverty-mitigating action would require a global carbon price of USD $106 per ton; similar income goals could be achieved at a carbon price of USD $53 per ton if the population eligible for payment was cut in half. Annual fluctuation in carbon prices, unreliability of local markets for food purchases, up-front costs for preparatory land management at USD $1.2 M/year, and need for resource monitoring/compliance are major project challenges.