Rangelands directly support 200 million households and support 50% of the world’s livestock population, says The Grasslands Carbon Working Group, a professional group comprising of scientists from the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the World Agro-forestry Centre (ICRAF).
They argue in this policy brief that livestock, which greatly depend on rangelands for their growth, are socially, culturally and economically critical to rural livelihoods. Livestock is a fast-growing agricultural sub-sector, accounting for as much as 50% of GDP in countries with significant areas of rangeland (World Bank, 2007). Pastoralism is considered the most appropriate strategy to maintain human well-being in rangelands, as it provides secure livelihoods, conserves ecosystem services, promotes wildlife conservation and honours cultural values and traditions (ILRI, 2006; UNDP, 2006). However, managers of rangelands face socio-political constraints – for example tenure insecurity, lack of social and education services, and conflicting policies have exacerbated their societal marginalization and economic poverty.