Rangeland issues are complex and require a multi-dimensional approach to fully understand how to effectively manage their dynamic ecosystems. ICARDA’s approach to rangeland research is governed by seven main themes:
Monitoring and assessment: inventories, assessments and appropriate mappings are required to properly analyze the use and condition of rangelands. To ensure that lands are capable of providing sustainable products for future generations, their ecological conditions should be monitored against specific standards.
Biodiversity conservation: identifying, conserving, and multiplying highly grazed species. Priority will be given to varieties resistant to drought and salinity which will be introduced to rehabilitate degraded rangeland regions.
Rehabilitation: identifying native and introduced species tailored to different agro-ecological situations; integrating tree and shrub planting for good quality animal feed; and introducing cost-effective water harvesting techniques easily adapted to pastoral communities.
Grazing management: introducing sustainable grazing methods to enhance productivity and alleviate pressures on natural resources such as soil and water. One potential intervention is to adjust the spatial distribution of animals and water resources in a specific grazing area.
Institution and policy options: ensuring community ownership so that pastoralists become long-term guardians of their resource base. Communities and governments need to work together to develop robust rules and regulations so that all stakeholders are aware of their responsibilities.
Ecosystem services: encouraging diversification and alternative sustainable livelihood strategies such as the production of organic animal products and eco-tourism. The program will identify community-based approaches to identify potential activities related to sustainable intensification and market opportunities.
Capacity development and knowledge networks: appropriate training and education will be provided, particularly policy formation, knowledge sharing, support for research and technology transfer, and the sustainable management of common resources.