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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Perspectives on enclosures in pastoralist drylands: From contradictory evidence to the formulation of innovative land management strategies

Knutsson, Per; Mureithi, Stephen; Wredle, Ewa; Nyberg, Gert


Drylands in Sub-Saharan Africa are subject to rapid and enduring population increase, agricultural expansion, land large-scale infrastructure developments, as well as climate change, affecting some 265 million pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. These changes are promoting a transition from traditional pastoralist ways of life characterized by seasonal mobility, towards more sedentary livelihoods based on more intensive and commercial uses of land-based resources. As part of of this ongoing transition, establishment of enclosures on pastoralist commons is emerging as a default, but highly contested, development pathway. Based on a review of the current enclosure debate across the natural, economic, and social sciences, with a geographical focus on the East African drylands, we discuss the potential and limitations of enclosures as land management tool, and propose a conceptual framework for how enclosures can act as an integral part of sustainable pastoralist land use. Such a framework constitute an important piece of the puzzle for more productively linking the urgent need of innovative ways of managing pastoralist rangelands, to the present international and national commitments to restoration of degraded lands.

Published in

World Development Perspectives
2021, volume: 23, article number: 100351

Authors' information

Knutsson, Per
University of Gothenburg
Mureithi, Stephen
University of Nairobi
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land
SDG17 Partnerships for the goals
SDG12 Responsible consumption and production

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

Publication Identifiers


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