Document Type

Report

Journal/Book Title

Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program

Publication Date

12-2007

Publisher

University of California at Davis

Abstract

The implementation of a new prescribed fire program to restore bush-encroached rangelands in southern Ethiopia—and hence increase herbaceous forage supplies for livestock—is given as an example of an integrated action involving multiple institutions to address resource-management problems. The resumption of planned fire—traditionally conducted over hundreds of years by pastoralists until the 1970s—was preceded by key activities including mobilization of the pastoral community, review of government proclamations regarding use of fire, interaction with policy makers, capacity building among pastoralists and agency personnel on how to implement and manage planned fires, development of an overall prescribed burn plan, selection of geo-referenced sites, and then implementing large-scale burns on an annual cycle. The process has required a combination of indigenous knowledge, relaxation of policy constraints, use of modern technology, careful hands-on training, applied research, and building trust to create a truly collaborative approach. The key elements of change have been participatory action research, outreach, and engagement with a wide variety of stakeholders. One springboard for success has been the commitment of the Oromia Agricultural Research Institute (OARI) and the Oromia Pastoral area Development Commission (OPaDC) to support an authentic, demand-driven research agenda with a focus on applied and adaptive work in the pastoral areas.