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Title: Maintaining opportunism and mobility in drylands : the impact of veterinary cordon fences in Botswana
Author: McGahey, Daniel John
ISNI:       0000 0004 2675 2753
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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The recent revival of debates concerning livestock development in Africa follows the more widespread acceptance of paradigm shifts within rangeland science, and maintaining pastoral mobility is now recognised as fundamental for the future survival of pastoralism and sustainability of dryland environments. However, in southern Africa communal pastoral drylands continue to be enclosed and dissected by large-scale barrier fences designed to control livestock diseases, thus protecting lucrative livestock export agreements. This interdisciplinary research examines the extent to which these veterinary cordon fences have changed people’s access to, and effective management of, natural resources in northern Botswana and how fence-restricted resource use by livestock, wildlife and people has changed the natural environment. Critical political ecology informed the approach, given its emphasis on socio-political and historical influences on resource access, mobility and user relationships. This enabled the biophysical effects of social changes to be investigated fully, thereby moving beyond a tradition of discipline-based studies often resulting in severely repressive rangeland policies. The research demonstrates how enclosure by veterinary cordon fences restricts patterns of resource access and mobility within pastoral drylands, with serious implications for both social and environmental sustainability. Enclosure increases the vulnerability of people to risks and natural hazards, while resource access constraints and pastoral adaptations to enclosure have favoured the increasing commercialisation of livestock production, thus obstructing pathways into pastoralism. While widespread environmental change in livestock areas cannot be attributed thus far to enclosure, the curtailment of wild migratory herbivores at the wildlife–livestock interface has caused some large-scale structural vegetation changes and there are indications that fence induced sedentarisation could be accentuating existing degradation trends. Given these changes, future rangeland policies in Africa should be aware of the social and environmental impacts associated with export-led disease management infrastructure and consider alternative, less intrusive, approaches to livestock development and disease control in extensive pastoral drylands.
Supervisor: Thomas, David S. G. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geography ; Africa ; Environment ; Arid environmental systems ; Environmental change ; Human resource management ; Agrarian change ; Human development ; Indigenous peoples ; veterinary cordon fence ; pastoralism ; mobility ; environmental change ; drylands