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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: The Human and Environmental Impacts of Migratory Pastoralism and Index-Based Livestock Insurance in Arid and Semi-Arid East Africa

Location: Northwest Watershed Management Research

Project Number: 2052-13610-011-14
Project Type: Trust

Start Date: Jul 01, 2013
End Date: Jun 30, 2015

Objective:
Evaluate resource-selection and migration patterns of livestock herded by pastoralists in East Africa under seasonally-varying (e.g., dry vs. wet season) and interannually-varying (e.g., severe drought) climatic conditions. Contrast livestock movement patterns and migratory decisions between pastoralist herds insured and not insured by an Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) program. Establish a background for assessing the consequent impacts of IBLI programs on environmental health and ecosystem services.

Approach:
Continue to intensively track the year-round movements of pastoralist herds on the Borana Plateau of southern Ethiopia using custom GPS collars initially deployed in August 2011 under a pilot project, cooperative agreement 58-5362-1-208. Utilize existing and evolving analysis techniques (e.g., resource-selection functions, machine learning, and agent-based modeling) to evaluate short-term movements choices (e.g., daily selection of foraging areas) and longer term, migration decision-making (e.g., trigger, route, and destination characteristics). Evaluate herd movement patterns for potential environmental impact (e.g., globular use patterns concentrated around surface water sources vs. dispersed foraging loops that minimize concentrated livestock use). Contrast livestock movement patterns and migratory decisions between pastoralist herds insured and not insured by an Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) program.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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