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Research, Policy and Practice

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Table 1 The steps needed to implement the framework (Figure 1) by describing the ecological and anthropogenic indicatorsa

From: Harnessing pastoralists' indigenous knowledge for rangeland management: three African case studies

Steps and descriptions
1. Conduct initial discussions with key informants. Most knowledgeable individuals can be identified with help of the community
2. Conduct group discussions with range scouts about traditional systems of range management in general, range classifications, assessments and monitoring and knowledge of strategies for coping with droughts. Compile key words and concepts and the indicators that are most frequently used. The information reflects the regional scales. At this stage most knowledgeable traditional scouts can be identified
3. Conduct preliminary field survey and go through the procedures for data collection at landscape patch scales. Identify indicators used by traditional range scouts. Revise data format by displaying key indicators for repeated measurements
4. Start the field survey using road transects (and 'landscape walk'). Explain the objective of the survey. Identify and discuss concepts and indicators that are used in the assessments. Given that there are different scales involved when making the surveys, the scouts should be informed to scale down, using traditional methods. The scales of measurement should be plots, patches and landscapes
5. Describe landscape categories. Identify soil and vegetation types, each described by herder scouts and ecologists. Terminology to be agreed on (usually landscape names used by herders should be selected). Both the scouts and ecologists describe the biophysical characteristics of each landscape patch and the key forage species. Historical vegetation changes to be reconstructed by herders and seasons of grazing described by them. Location of sampling stations is selected and geo-referenced using GPS (Global Positioning System) if available and the general land use described
6. Allow the scouts to conduct assessments. Through discussing among themselves, they reach consensus. The scouts describe livestock grazing suitability, landscape grazing potential, threats of degradation, loss of key forage species; they specify the season of livestock grazing that is most preferred (i.e. wet, dry or drought years)
7. Ecologists and herder scouts jointly describe range conditions, while the scouts describe trends
8. For the same patch conduct ecological assessments (using plots).b Plant species in the plots to be identified by herder scouts (deposit voucher samples in National Herbaria). Ecologists and herder scouts count the number of species. Ecologists to estimate standing biomass, bare ground, invasive species, grazing pressure and degradation threats using nested plots; [(1 × 1 m2 plots for sampling herbaceous vegetation, 2 × 2 m2 plots for sampling shrubs and 25 × 25 m2 plots used for sampling tree species)]. Allow herder scouts to describe trends of individual plant species
  1. Note. Step 8, which involves ecological measurements were not implemented in this study.
  2. aModified from Oba et al. (2008a, p. 71).
  3. bFor the present study only steps 1-7 were implemented due to time constraints.