Enclosure of the East African Rangelands: Recent Trends and their Impact

Research reports and studies
March 1988
Olivia Graham

The enclosure of rangelands and registration of exclusive rights in the grazing by individuals or groups of prastoralists has been increasing over the past two decades.  This occurs because of pressure from the two levels:

  1. It is encouraged by governments, planners and multi-lateral donor agencies in an attempt to 'rationalise' the use of rangleands.  This arises from a wish to see the pastoral sector move towards more market-orientated production and make greater overall contribution to the national economy.
  2. It is initiated by pastoralists as a reponse to a perception that good land is becoming scarce and there is a need to lay claims to a demarcated area in order to protect grazing rights.

THis paper analyses briefly the reasons why such enclosure is taking place, the short and the long term impact on different groups, and the technical and environmental issues which are related to enclosures.   Examples are given from Kenya and Somalia, which are intended to raise some of the fundamental issues involved and to provide a basis for discussion about the future evolution of pastoralism in Africa.  In the planned sedentarisation of pastoralists on group ranches is presented.  In Somalia, spontaneous enclosure in pastoral and agro-pastoral areas is examined.  Neither is intended as an academic treatment of the subject, nor is this in any way a comprehensive analysis since the country-to-country differences are great and empirical information scarce.

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