Integrated assessments and spatial-dynamic ecosystem modeling to assess development-biodiversity interactions in east Africa
COUGHENOUR, M.B.* and R.B.BOONE
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523 USA 1
Pastoralism or extensive livestock herding is the most prevalent form of land use in East Africa in terms of land area utilized. These pastoral regions also support some of the largest and most viable wildlife populations in Africa. Traditional pastoral livestock production has been highly compatible with wildlife conservation, but this compatible interaction is showing signs of disintegration in many parts of East Africa. Livestock and wildlife are viewed as competitors for limiting forage. Livestock are seen as spreading disease into wildlife, and wildlife are seen as spreading disease into livestock. Spatial components of pastoral ecosystems have been disrupted by competing forms of land use,with negative implications for ecosystem persistence. Pastoral movements have been increasingly restricted by game reserves, agriculture, land subdivision, and privatization. An integrated modeling and assessment system (IMAS) has been developed that integrates computer modeling, geographic information systems, remote sensing, and field studies to provide information necessary to conserve biodiversity, wildlife, and ecosystem integrity while increasing pastoral food security. The IMAS includes an ecosystem model that spatially represents changes in plant and animal distributions and abundances over time, and the causal factors underlying livestock-wildlife interactions, in terms of plant growth and competition for forage. An animal disease model assesses the risks of transmission between livestock and wildlife. A human ecology model represents cash-flow and dietary energy intake in pastoral households. The models are parameterized through field studies in several different disciplines of ecology. The IMAS has been applied to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. Model scenarios were selected to address the effects of: 1) drought, 2) elevated livestock numbers, 3) improved veterinary care, 4) increased access to grazing lands, 5) changes in water supplies, and 6) growth in human populations and agriculture. Although conservation policy can affect pastoral welfare, and livestock development can affect wildlife, solutions can be found which minimize negative, and maximize positive interactions.
Keywords: Africa, wildlife, modeling, livestock, land-use, integrated assessment
This abstract is being presented at: 2:15 PM in session:
Symposium # 4: Human Development and Biodiversity Conservation in the Developing World: Finding a Balance in Concept and Practice.