Perceptions about arid and semi-arid pastoral regions are rapidly changing. They are no longer seen as livestock enterprises but as multiple use systems with important consequences for the global environment and for more diversified livelihood strategies.
They are crucial for the production of ecosystems goods and services, for tourism and for mitigating climate change. They have many functions and some alternative development options.
Some of these options, while important for households and communities are also of global and regional interest and might turn into economically viable livelihood strategies if the right systems of incentives and policies are put in place. For poor households this will mean alternatives beyond traditional livestock production such as the payments for ecosystems good and services like water, carbon sequestration and others, tourism, biofuel production and the development of niche markets.
Research agendas need to take into account the trade-offs and synergies arising from these multiple uses so that the poor are able to reap the multiple benefits provided by these ecosystems
On 9 and 10 November 2011, the ILRI Board of Trustees hosted a 2-day ‘liveSTOCK Exchange’ to discuss and reflect on livestock research for development. The event synthesized sector and ILRI learning and helped frame future livestock research for development directions.