Pastoral Surveillance and Early Warning Sytem To support resilience to climate change in the Sahel

Picture: A. Saley

In West Africa, the sahelo-saharian context is characterized by its huge area and high spatio – temporal rainfall variability. An important part of the population lives from extensive breeding systems that are largely based on inter seasonal movements linked to the availability of two natural resources: water and pasture. In these areas and because of the size of the pastoral spaces, the difficult access to the resources and a very low demographic density, food security and population vulnerability monitoring cannot be done in the same way than in sedentary areas. In this environment, the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) tools and Remote Sensing (RS) appear to be very appropriate in order to address those large areas and allow an efficient monitoring of the pastoral resources. Action Contre la Faim (ACF) International and its partners have progressively developed an innovative pastoral surveillance and early warning system at national and regional levels. The aim of this system is to prevent humanitarian, food and nutrition crises

The pastoral surveillance and early warning system allows a timely analysis of pastoral resource availability and inform about the plausible growing vulnerability of communities in pastoral and agro – pastoral areas in Sahel:
It gives a picture of relative availability of pastoral resources for a given year in comparison to the average value. It gives quantitative values of vegetation production to be integrated into a feed inventory. It gives insights of breeders’ spatial adaptation strategies toward incoming chocks and stresses

in Sahelian pastoral areas through the provision of timely and reliable drought risk information to local, national and international stakeholders.



Disaster Risk Reduction

The biomass anomaly map presents the relative deficit or excess of vegetation biomass production for one given year compared to the average value calculated for the period between 1998 and today. In red are shown the deficits and in green are shown the excesses. Map produced by F. Ham.

Objectives of the Pastoral Surveillance and Early Warning System To monitor drought risks and enhance preparedness in sahelian pastoral areas
1. Monitor drought risks through the assessment of available and accessible pastoral resources 2. Target most vulnerable communities and favour positive coping strategies to mitigate drought impacts. 3. Advocate and alert at local, national and regional level to ensure proper level of preparedness toward incoming crises.

The 3 components of the system

Pasture monitoring : Biogenerator.
In the north sahelian context, pasture growing period finishes few weeks after the end of the rainy season. Since then, it’s possible to set up the pasture balance of the area for the current year. A computer based tool integrating satellite images has been developed by ACF: it’s called « Biogenerator ». This tool allows the calculation of the available vegetation mater throughout the whole studied territory at the end of the rainy season. The obtained result is the total dry matter production of the considered year, expressed in Kg of dry matter per hectare.


Disaster Risk Reduction

The surface water anomaly map shows the relative spatial and temporal deficit or excess of surface water presence for one given year compared to the average value calculated for the period between 2000 and today. Blue areas present longer and/or larger surface water presence while reddish areas present shorter and/or smaller surface water presence. Map produced by F. Ham the area, wells, boreholes, water ponds or rivers can provide the needed water to the animals and people. Water is not systematically available next to the grazing places. In that case cattle have to move to realize short cycle movements to get the needed water. The Hydrogenerator, developed between 2009 and 2010 by ACF, considers surface water bodies and their evolution throughout the year. The tool realizes a decadal sum of detected cells and represents a cumulative surface water detection map for the period between 2000 and today. For one given year, the tool also produces a surface water accessibility map which helps to characterize the zones in relation to the water residence time and their influence on a 30 km buffer ring around the detected cells.

Field data collection in Gao region, Mali – 2008. Picture : F. Ham

Surface water monitoring: Hydrogenerator.
In the north sahelian context, water is one fundamental resource for breeders and their livestock. Depending on

Disaster Risk Reduction

The usual movement’s patterns of breeders and their livestock in Mali are shown on this map. Map produced by J.M. Cesaro using ACF data and published in the « Atlas des évolutions des systèmes pastoraux au Sahel 1970-2012 », CIRAD and FAO.

Spatial adaptation strategy monitoring: Mapping of movements and concentration areas.
Pastoral movements and areas of concentrated grazing livestock may largely vary considering the available resources. However, “usual” movements can be determined and compared to actual movements each year in order to understand the possible adaptive strategies of breeders and also to be able to anticipate the difficulties people could face some time later. Mapping activities have been realized empirically in Mali and Niger thanks to the expertise of pastoralists, scientists and experts in sahelian pastoral systems. However, in the future the use of new technologies such as GPS is suggested in order to get near real time data allowing a sharper, more powerful and up to date analysis.

Concentration area in Hombori, Mali – 2010. Picture: H. Mapa.

Disaster Risk Reduction

A vulnerability model integrating the 3 fundamental constitutive pastoral components in Sahel region is currently under development. This model would support the analysis of the pastoral situation and should optimize the targeting of the vulnerable population and areas through early warning processes. This model could also be completed by data gathered at a finer resolution (household economy analysis, market trade) and could be used to support the implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction measures in pastoral areas while supporting population resilience toward climate change effects.




Collaborative efforts toward early warning and resilience building
The surveillance system has progressively been developed and implemented in partnership with multiple partners including local, national, regional and international governmental institutions and research centres. Today ACF intends pursuing its developments through consistent research partnerships such as the ones built with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission in Ispra, Italy, the Vlaamse

Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek (VITO) company in Belgium which produces digital data and makes them available to users on the internet, and the Centre de coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD) based in France. These efforts should lead to the progressive design of a pastoral vulnerability model to support pastoral communities’ resilience to drought and climate change. In parallel to these technical improvements, ACF also aims at up scaling the system to other countries in West Africa and into the Horn of Africa.

West Africa Regional Office Yoff Toundoup RYA lot No. 11, Dakar Senegal

Acción contra el Hambre C/ Duqe de Sevilla, 3 28002 Madrid 900 100 822 www.accioncontraelhambre.org

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