Range management is generally considered to be context independent. The American based range profession has assumed that the paradigms and models underlying range management are applicable in any context, be it the United States, Peru, Somalia, or Afghanistan (CRDP 1983). This assumption has never been seriously challenged within the profession, even though numerous reports question the appropriateness of Western range management in developing nations (Hoben 1979, IDA 1980, Sandford 1983, USAID 1983). This paper uses evidence from three pastoral development projects in Africa to examine the universal applicability of range management.
The paper is in four sections. It starts with a brief discussion of the difference between the environments in which range management developed and those of pastoral systems. The next section examines the projects' range development strategies, while the third section presents an economic paradigm and a decision making model underlying these strategies. The final section proposes ways to make range management more relevant to pastoral systems.