Remote sensing & indigenous knowledge of grazing conditions in Karamoja

Low-input pastoral systems provide up to 90% of livestock and livestock products consumed in Uganda. However, pastoralist communities find it increasingly difficult to meet the forage needs of their livestock, a situation exacerbated by climatic variability. A study on “Drivers of forage availability: an integration of remote sensing and traditional ecological knowledge in Karamoja sub-region, Uganda” by Anthony Egeru et al published in Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice 5:19 (2015) identified the patterns of forage availability and quality, compared perceived patterns of forage availability with the normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) and determined drivers of forage availability in the Karamoja area.

Over 12 months, 75% of respondents perceived forage to be sufficient in quantity and quality, with differences between livestock species (goats, sheep, cattle, donkeys and camels). There was a significant relationship between perceived forage availability and long-term mean monthly NDVI dynamics. The major perceived drivers of forage availability included the livestock keeper’s length of residence in the area, number of kraals, presence of governing rules, presence of conflicts, knowledge of pasture locations and restrictions on herd movements. Thus, it was found that pastoralist communities in Karamoja have detailed traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of forage status and their perceived determinants. The quality of information generated from the community assessment shows that it is possible to integrate TEK in ecological assessments to generate reliable information for understanding the state of grazing resources.

Posted on 6 November 2016 in Pastoralism & Natural Resources