Opportunistic and conservative pastoral strategies : Some economic arguments

Sandford, Stephen
Scoones, Ian
Ecological Economics
Publication Year: 
This paper revisits the debate over the relative effectiveness of 'conservative' and 'opportunistic' stocking strategies for African pastoral rangelands. The paper is based on a reassessment of the results of an earlier paper in this journal by Campbell et al. (2000) [Campbell, B.M., Dore, D., Luckert, M., Mukamuri, B., Gambiza, J., 2000. Economic comparisons of livestock production in communal grazing areas of Zimbabwe. Ecol. Econ., 33, 413-438] which argued that the advocacy of opportunistic strategies by the 'new range science' was misplaced. This paper questions some of the assumptions of this scenario modelling effort, both in terms of causal structure and parameter estimates. By developing a mimic model and using data from the same site-a dryland communal area in southern Zimbabwe-this paper shows how the conclusions of the earlier paper were premature. The need for sensitivity analysis in assessing model findings is emphasised if policy conclusions, with potentially major impacts on people's livelihoods, are to be drawn. A brief discussion of the implications of this reassessment, including more broadly the limitations and prospects of economic-ecological modelling in policymaking for rangeland management, concludes the paper.
Name of Journal: 
Ecological Economics
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Grassland Society of Southern Africa

The Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) is involved and concerned with the science and practice of range and pasture management. This broad field involves primarily the use and conservation of natural resources. It encompasses applied fields such as livestock production, wildlife management, nature conservation, water catchment management and range and mine-dump rehabilitation. The disciplines include, amongst others, ecology, botany zoology, range and pasture science, animal science, soil science and genetics. This collection includes journal articles from the African Journal of Range and Forage Science as well as related articles and reports from throughout the Southern African region.