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Conference paper2023

Restoring rangelands for nutrition and health for humans and livestock

Öborn, Ingrid; Bargués Tobella, Aida; Bostedt, Göran; et al.


Drylands cover 40% of the global land area and host 2 billion people, of which 90% live in low- or middleincome countries. Drylands often face severe land degradation, low agricultural productivity, rapid population growth, widespread poverty, and poor health. Governance structures and institutions are often eroded. Livestock-based livelihoods, largely depending on seasonal migration are common. Pastoralist communities and their land are highly vulnerable to climate shocks, while there are also changes in land tenure, insecurity/conflicts and rapid infrastructure development. Drylands Transform is an interdisciplinary research project revolving around the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The project aim is to contribute new knowledge to a transformative change and sustainable development of drylands in East Africa to help escape the ongoing negative spiral of land, livestock and livelihood degradation. We investigate the links between land health, livelihoods, human well-being, and land management and governance with several study sites along the Kenya-Uganda border. Through strong stakeholder engagement we will explore challenges and pathways towards a social-ecological transformation in these drylands. The entry point is the urgent need to identify and enhance synergies between food and nutrition security (SDG2), land and ecosystem health (SDG15) and governance and justice (SDG16) for sustainable dryland development, aiming to improve health and equity (SDGs 3 and 5), while minimizing trade-offs between agricultural productivity, natural resources management and climate change. We are using innovative field research approaches focusing on livelihood improvement through rangeland (grazing areas) restoration and governance interventions. We will present results from the initial work to assess land health using the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework and explore the links with human health and well-being through household survey data. We will also show how we will co-develop sustainable dryland management options (e.g., field experiments with fodder grasses and shrubs) with local communities and set-up knowledge sharing hubs.


fodder; interdisciplinary; synergy; trade-off; social-ecological transformation

Published in

Publisher: University of Kentucky


International Grassland Congress Proceedings, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization. May 14-19, 2023, Kentucky, USA