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Rainfall Variability, Traditional and Commercial Rangelands Management, and the Drought Cycle: Some Theoretical Considerations and Empirical Evidence from Ethiopia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: McCarthy, Nancy
Conference: Property Rights, Institutions, and Management of Environmental and Natural Resources, the Fourth Toulouse Conference on Environment and Resource Economics
Location: Toulouse, France
Conf. Date: May 3-4
Date: 2001
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/8060
Sector: Grazing
Region: Africa
Subject(s): common pool resources
game theory
Abstract: "Extensive livestock production is practiced in arid and semi-arid areas all over the world, and is particularly important in sub-Saharan Africa. Because land is marginal and rainfall patterns are erratic, returns per hectare are generally low and variability of returns is quite high, both seasonally and inter-annually. It has been hypothesized by a number of researchers studying rangelands management under these conditions that 1) returns to traditional commonly accessed pastures compare favorably with returns to commercial ranches in similar environments, 2) it is individually rational to accumulate animals in anticipation of a drought, so as to come out of a drought with more animals, and thus that 3) the use and management of traditional rangelands show little evidence of tragedy of the commons type problems. Policy recommendations thus include devolving resource management to communities, and structuring long-term development and short-term crises interventions to mitigate stock losses during a drought."

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