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Building rangeland capital in Morocco

Sheep herders in eastern Morocco were stuck in a low-productivity situation because they overgrazed their shared rangelands. There was no incentive to let the rangelands recover, because they were commonly-shared lands and if one herder withdrew, another would simply take his place.

When the herders were assisted to establish clan-based cooperatives, the situation began to turn around. Herders were provided with 30 kg of barley per year as compensation for setting aside 450,000 hectares for recuperation for two years. The set-aside vegetation quickly recovered. Its productivity jumped from 150 to 800 kg/ha of dry matter per year, a gain worth 50% more than the cost of the set-aside.

Reflecting this success, the cooperatives grew to encompass 8,250 herders over a 3 million hectare area (El Harizi 1998; Reij and Steeds 2003). Controlled rotational grazing now generates enough benefits that the herders pay grazing fees to their cooperatives.

Return to "Dryland success stories"


El Harizi, K. 1998. Morocco case study: blending old with new institutions-an innovative approach to sustainable rangeland development and management in a traditional society. The World Bank/WBI's CBNRM initiative. http://srdis.ciesin.org/cases/morocco-001.html

Reij, C. and Steeds, D. 2003. Success stories in Africa's drylands: supporting advocates and answering skeptics. Rome: Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.  


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