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Identifying Hot Spots of Critical Forage Supply in Dryland Nomadic Pastoralist Areas: A Case Study for the Afar Region, Ethiopia

Abstract: 
This study develops a methodology to identify hot spots of critical forage supply in nomadic pastoralist areas, using the Afar Region, Ethiopia, as a special case. It addresses two main problems. First, it makes a spatially explicit assessment of fodder supply and demand extracted from a data poor environment. Fodder supply is assessed by combining rainfall-based production functions and rule-based assessment for prevailing land use. Fodder demand is based on a data consistency check of livestock statistics concerning herd size, composition and geographical distribution. Second, individual herd movements have to be evaluated jointly in concurrent migration patterns to assess local pressures on fodder resources. We, therefore, apply a transition model that relates stock levels to seasonal migration routings for all Afar sub-clans jointly so as to localize the hot spots where feed demand exceeds forage supply. Critical areas come to the fore, especially, near fringes of Highlands and in the southern part of the Afar. A sensitivity test shows that ‘Baseline’ scenario is close to the ‘Best’ but under ‘Worst’, the Afar region would fall into despair. We conclude that the model is a useful tool to inform policy makers on critical areas in the Afar region.