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Mobile Pastoralists in the Logone Floodplain Distribute Themselves in an Ideal Free Distribution

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Moritz, Mark; Hamilton, Ian M.; Chen, Yu-Jen; Scholte, Paul
Journal: Current Anthropology
Volume: 55
Page(s): 115-122
Date: 2014
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9609
Sector: Grazing
Region: Africa
Subject(s): common pool resources
Abstract: "We examined whether mobile pastoralists in the Logone floodplain of Cameroon distribute themselves according to the ideal free distribution (IFD), which predicts that the number of individuals in each area is proportional to the quality and quantity of resources in each area and that all individuals have access to the same amount of resources. We used the concept to assess the distribution of grazing pressure over available common-pool resources as evidence of a complex adaptive system in which the spatial distribution grazing pressure is adjusted to the distribution of resources through individual decision making and passive coordination of movements among individual pastoralists. We used a combination of spatial and ethnographic approaches to study the distribution of resources and mobile pastoralists in the Logone floodplain in 5 successive years and found evidence for an IFD in 3 years (2008–2009 and 2012) and an approximation of an IFD in years in which pastoralists were terrorized by armed bandits (2010) and the government reestablished security (2011). The findings support our hypothesis that there is a self-organizing management system in which pastoralists distribute themselves effectively over the available resources."

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