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International Arid Lands Consortium (IALC)

Bedouin Ethnoecology, Range Science and Sustainable Pastoralism

Bedouin Pastorlism

Titre : Bedouin Ethnoecology, Range Science and Sustainable Pastoralism

Pays : Jordanie

Date/Durée : December 1, 2009 to November 30, 2011

Objectif (s)
All objectives relate to Jordan’s northern Badia region. They are to : * Describe Bedouin traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) with reference to plants, dromedaries, livestock and rangeland management, and other natural resources. * Determine whether TEK and range science assessments of pasture utility for forage are compatible. * Assess the potential for sustainably increasing livestock production by re-introducing dromedaries, related TEK and the traditional Hima system of protected areas. * Produce allometric models for estimating standing crop rapidly in the field, and assess the accuracy and efficiency of this approach.

The Jordanian Bedouin have largely replaced dromedaries with trucks as their primary means of transport (Blench, 1998). Dromedaries now form an insignificant component of the intensified, sheep-based livestock operations in the Badia desert region. Abandonment of dromedaries in favor of sheep appears to have altered plant community composition, due to the differences in dietary preference, and the historically high grazing intensity appears to have significantly reduced herbaceous cover, increasing susceptibility to soil erosion (Blench, 1998). Inferences of causality are, however, hampered by the difficulty of monitoring rangeland condition rigorously over large areas. Nevertheless, profit margins are low and over-reliance on automobiles exposes this subsistence mode to economic disruption from the fuel price rises expected with the passage of global peak oil production. A return to mixed species pastoralism would likely be more ecologically and economically sustainable. Efforts are underway to preserve a dromedary population in the region, to protect cultural heritage and maintain options for income diversification (BRDC, 2009). However, it is doubtful whether corresponding ethnoecological knowledge is being passed on to younger generations unused to mixed livestock operations. Loss of local knowledge accumulated over centuries could hamper effects to re-incorporate dromedaries into more sustainable use of desert rangelands. There is a need to preserve traditional knowledge and institutions for preserving rangeland, such as the Hima protected areas of Arabia ; and to determine whether they can be integrated with range science to improve dryland management. Within range science, new techniques are needed to assess rangeland condition more efficiently and reliably over wide areas. Multispecies allometric models have been proposed but there have been few assessments of their accuracy or savings in time and costs.

Partenaires : * Institution of Principle Investigator while on this project : University of Arizona ; * Investigators : , Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona ; Badia Research & Development Centre ; Department of Horticulture & Agronomy, University of Jordan, Amman ;

Financement : Support for this project came from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Présentation : IALC

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