Ecology of African Pastoralist Societies

Ecology of African Pastoralist Societies

by Katherine Homewood

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ISBN-10: 0821418416

ISBN-13: 9780821418413

Pub. Date: 02/17/2009

Publisher: Ohio University Press

A comprehensive survey and analysis of the literature and debates surrounding African pastoralist societies by a leading anthropologist of African pastoralism. Katherine Homewood traces the origins and spread of pastoralism on the African continent before examining contemporary pastoralist environments and livelihoods. There are separate discussions of herd biology,


A comprehensive survey and analysis of the literature and debates surrounding African pastoralist societies by a leading anthropologist of African pastoralism. Katherine Homewood traces the origins and spread of pastoralism on the African continent before examining contemporary pastoralist environments and livelihoods. There are separate discussions of herd biology, pastoralist demography, and the impact of development and change on pastoralist systems.

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Ohio University Press
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Table of Contents

List of Photographs, Figures, Tables & Boxes x

Acknowledgement xii

Photographs & Map of African Pastoralist Societies

1 Introduction to the ecology of African Pastoralists 1

Background 1

Theories of African pastoralist ecology 3

Book structure & sequence 7

2 Origins & Spread of African Pastoralism 10

Origins 10

Tracing pastoralism in prehistory 10

Emergence of pastoralism inn African prehistory 12

Spread of pastoralism through Africa 16

Emergennce of present-day African pastoralist societies 20

Fulani in West Africa 20

Tuareg 25

Emergence of pastoralism in North East Africa: Africa: Arab and Beja 29

Horn of Africa: the Somalis 31

Nilotic pastoralists of the Sudd 34

Emergence of pastoralism in East Africa: Maasai and Turkana 36

People of the Great Lakes: Tuutsi and Hutu 40

Emergence of pastoralism in Southern Africa 43

Tswana 44

Pastoralist history in South Africa: Xhosa and Zulu 46

South West Africa: Damara, Herero and San 47

3 Pastoralist Environments, constraints & Strategies 50

Biophysical environments 50

Arid and semi-arid dimates 52

Rainfall and seasonality 52

Aridity, unpredictability and productive potential 53

Drought 56

Soils 58

Fire 59

Organizing the diversity of vegetation types 59

Topography, geology and drainage lines 61

Disease constraints 61

Ecological models & pastoralist ecosystem dynamics 63

Equilibrium theory and the disequilibrium debate 65

Summary on equilibrium/disequilibrium 69

Social & political environments 72

Tenure and access 72

Confict, raiding, war and displacement 74

Political use of environmental narratives 79

Pastoralism and conservation80

Pastoral land use & production strategies 82

Land use and livestock management: mobility and transhumance 82

Production strategies 86

'Pute' pastoralism and milk-based pastoralism 86

Exchange pastoralism 87

Agropastoralism 87

Pastoralism and trade 90

Subsistence versus commercial pastoralism 91

Hired herders and absentee stokowners 92

Pastoralism as a component of land use and economy 93

4 Contemporary Pastoralist Systems 94

Saharo-Sahelian Pastoralism 94

Central Sahelian systems: Tuareg & Fulani 99

Wet savannas: Fulani of the Adamawa plateau & Central Africa forest-savanna mosaic 103

Pastoralists in wetlands I: Fulani in the Inland Delta of the Niger 107

Pastoralists of North East Africa & the Horn: 111

The Atmaan Beja 112

Somali pastoralism 114

Pastoralists in wetlands II: peoples of the Sudd 120

East African pastoralists 124

Maasai 124

Turkana 126

Oromo-speaking peoples of Southern Ethiopia: Borana and Arssi 128

Southern Africa 130

5 Pastoral Livelihoods & Economy 132

Analysis of pastoralist economies 133

Modelling pastoral economic decisions 134

Empirical approaches: statistical modeling 135

Theory-driven modelling: Cost/benefit, optimality and stochastic dynamic models 136

Systems and stimulations 137

Labour 138

Labour needs, strategies and returns 138

Stratified societies and socio-economic class 140

Gender 141

Age 143

Factors affecting division of labour: summary 144

Land 145

Ecological influences 145

Hisstorical changes in land tenure and access 148

Livestock 153

Livestock as capital and commodity 153

Livestock ownership: concepts ad mechanisms 154

Sustainable livelihoods framework 156

6 Biology of the Herds 158

Herd composition 158

Species 159

Breeds 160

Age/sex composition 161

Biology of livestock production 162

Pastoral products 162

Variation in herd performance 162

Management of herd reproduction 164

Impacts of drought and disease on herd biology and performance 165

Livestock diseases 167

Trypanosomiasis 167

East Coast fever 169

Rinderpest 171

Contagious Bovine Pleuro-Pneumonia 171

Epidemiological implications of conflicting knowledge systems 172

Policy implications 174

7 Pastoral Food Systems, Diets & Nutrition 177

Pastoral diets 179

Methods and methodological problems 179

Patoralist diets 180

Protein and energy in pastoral diets: calorific and monetary trade-offs 182

Seasonal variation 184

Unimodal vs bimodal rainfall climates 184

Complementary food sources and energy adequacy 184

Seasonal stresses: workload, disease challenge and energy balance 185

Growth patterns & anthropometric status 185

Gwoth trajectories: height for age, weight for height 185

Growth outcomes: pastoralists vs cultivators 186

Intra-household, socioeconomic and caste variation 188

Livestock per person ratios in evaluating food security 189

Food crises & famine 192

Nutrition & health in pastoralist groups 193

Nutrition and infection 193

Lactose intolerance 194

High animal-fat diets and CHD 195

Change in pastoralist food systems 195

Shifting trade-offs in pastoralist food production, consumption, sale and exchange 195

Pastoral food systems and development 197

8 African Pastoralist Demography 199

SARA RANDALL Data quality 200

A pastoralist demographic regime? 202

Livestock demography 202

Labour requirements 202

Environmental stress 203

Isolation and marginalization 203

Fertiliy 205

Seasonal stess 206

Sexually transmitted diseases and infertility 207

Sexual networking and infertility 207

HIV and AIDS 210

Marriage 211

Moratality 215

Adult mortality 218

Migration & movement 220

Transhumance 221

Sedentarisation 222

Migration 223

Is there a pastoralist demography? 225

9 Diversification, Development & Change in Pastoralist Systems 227

Pastoralist production, privatisation & commercialsation 228

Spontaneous commercialisation in pastoralist systems 229

Milk selling and dairying 229

Commercialisation of animal sales 231

Case studies of commercialsiation 232

North Africa: Libya 232

West Africa: Fulani in Nigeria and Niger 232

Southern Africa: Botswana 236

Conclusions on commercialisation of pastoral livestock production 237

Diversification 238

Trajectories and dimensions of diversification 238

Corollaries of diversification & development 244

Intensification and sedentarisation 244

Gender issues 245

Women's activities and workloads 245

Access to and control over land, livestock and natural resourees 247

Milk management 248

Education, development and diversification 248

Conclusion: The futures of African pastoralism 250

Bibliography 253

Index 287

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