TABLE of CONTENTS: Management tools

12. Animal impact

13. Grazing and rest

14. Time

15. Fire

16. Technologies

The bespectacled crocodile

by John Hall

An illustrated manual for facilitating Holistic Management in pastoral communities.

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Introduction of the Instructional unit four (5 minutes)


¨      You’ll first have to check to see that you have at least three farming (or gardening) implements with which to do his brief introduction. You hold each one up in turn and ask:

ü      What is this used for?

ü      Can this tool be used for something other than the purpose for which it was designed?

¨      Emphasize that, for some types of work and to attain particular goals, there are certain specific tools that are the only ones that can perform the task. Each tool corresponds to a specific activity, even through some tools can be used for several different tasks. In any case, one needs to know exactly what one wants to do before choosing the appropriate tool.

¨      Emphasize also that a "tool" is not necessarily an object, but that it can also be an action. For example, fire is not an object, but, as it has already been noticed, under certain circumstances, it can be considered a tool.

¨      Explain then that, in the sessions to follow, several “tools” will be studied that will be chosen depending on what building block of the ecosystem we want to work on, and in accordance with objectives set by the community.

¨      You should take this opportunity to display the “tools” icon (showing two or three farming implements, naturally), which will symbolize the subsequent group of modules.


Conclude this introduction by stating that the first "tool" to be studied will be the animal impact.









Desired situation:


¨      The herding community has the ability to exploit the positive impact of livestock on soils and vegetation, in the framework of sustainable rangeland management;


Current situation:


The reality, however, is usually the following:

¨      The general belief (which is shared by most herders) is that an increase in the number of animals, rather than improper rangeland management, explains the deterioration of the environment.

¨      They are either unaware of, or underestimate, the potential impact of livestock in breaking up the layer of hardpan, and the possibility of improving the water cycle.

Disparity between current and desired situation:


The module should therefore help fill the following gaps:


¨      Lack of awareness of the potential positive role of animal impact;

¨      Lack of knowledge of how to exploit animal impact, and of the types of organization that would make it possible.


Objectives of the module:


                By the end of the session, participants shall be able to explain:


¨      The positive impact of livestock on the percolation of rain into the soil (because their trampling breaks up the layer of hardpan and improves the water cycle);

¨      The positive effect of livestock on vegetation;

¨      How the impact of livestock is a tool like any other, and how its impact on the ecosystem depends on how it is used.





The men of the small village of Boudiouk look at images illustrating the use of animal impact as a ‘tool’. (26/08)





Target group:

    The choice of the target group is left up to the community and the outreach team. In this case, the target group should include at least the following:

¨      Pastoral management committee;

¨      The community’s pastoral auxiliaries;

¨      Herders or herd guardians.


SARAR exercise utilized by the module:

                Unserialized posters (Srinivasan, p. 89)


Graphical support materials:

Folder # 12

¨      Four posters depicting the "animal impact" during the dry season and during the rainy season

¨      Generic " tools" icon (showing farming implements)

¨      Specific "animal impact" icon (showing cattle running in a cloud of dust.)


Approximate duration of the module

                   1 hour      




1.    Presentation of the poster and utilization of the exercise (30 minutes)


¨      Present the two series of four posters of “stampeding herds” (i.e., animals running and grazing), and ask the group to think up a story that makes sense of the images, and to tell it.

¨      The idea here is to help the group establish the cause and effect relationship existing between the behavior of the animals in the pictures (i.e., large numbers of animals stampeding over the ground) and the impact that this behavior could have on the soil.

¨      Encourage remarks referring to modules previously studied (e.g., about the water cycle and organic matter cycle) and in which the concept of animal impact was already introduced.


In order to encourage participants to realize the potential positive relationship of animal impact over the vegetation, ask, for example, the following questions:

¨      Can animals break the hardpan crust with their hooves?

¨      Do they need to be numerous and agitated in order to do that?

¨      Do animals also incorporate their droppings and plant residues into the soil?


2.    Relationship between the impact of livestock on soils and the building blocks of the ecosystem (20 minutes)


Help the group to make the connection between the behavior of the animals and the impact they can have on all the building blocks of the ecosystem, reminding participants of remarks made during previous exercises:


¨      Which building block of the ecosystem is one acting upon if one breaks up the hardpan crust?

¨      What building block of the ecosystem are animals affecting when they trample plant detritus and organic matter?

¨      Which building block of the ecosystem is being affected when animals graze on plants?

¨      What impact would the animals have if they were kept indefinitely in the same grazing area?


3.    Conclusion (5 minutes)


¨      Ask participants to state how great the impact of animals can be on the ecosystem.

¨      Ask them if they have any proverbs illustrating these observations (e.g., expressions such as those existing in other pastoral societies: “the gazelle with the golden hooves” of Bedouin lore, or the Peuhl saying that “in the trail of the cow, the bush flowers anew”.)


4.    Transition (5 minutes)


¨      Insist on the fact that, contrary to common belief, the impact of livestock is undoubtedly the most important tool we have for rehabilitating pasturelands and exploiting them properly;

¨      In order to be effective, however, the tool of livestock impact must be used in accordance with “time”, which will be the subject of the next session;

¨      Get the group to agree on an icon (e.g., cattle running in a cloud of dust) that can be used to represent “animal impact” during the rest of the training.




q       The notion of the impact that animals’ hooves and teeth can have is generally familiar to pastoral cultures, which have many legends and proverbs illustrating this.

q       If this is not the case, then what is portrayed in the posters distributed during the exercise takes on great importance.










Desired situation


Herders understand that grazing is not bad in itself, but that, on the contrary, it is a necessary thing, provided that it is done in a rational manner.


Current situation


¨      There is confusion as to the difference between grazing done by a small number of animals, but on a continuous basis, and rational grazing;

¨      Herders are not always aware that continuous grazing results in deterioration of the grazing area;

¨      They are not always aware that, conversely, controlled grazing can regenerate a grazing area.


Disparity between current and desired situation


The disparity between the current situation and the desired situation derives from an inadequate comprehension of the mechanism of overgrazing and of the possibilities for regenerating grazing lands through rational management.


Objectives of the module


¨      By the end of the training session, participants shall be able to explain the beneficial effect of rational grazing that respects the vegetation’s grazing and resting times, as opposed to overgrazing and long-term protection.




Target group :


The choice of the target group is left up to the community and the outreach team. In this instance, the target group must consist of at least the following persons:

¨      Pastoral management committee

¨      Herding auxiliaries

¨      Shepherds or herd guardians


Exercise used in the module :

                Guided discussion based on three illustrated sequences


Graphic supports :

                Folder #13


Approximate duration of the module :

                1 hour.




1.    Introduction :


¨      When introducing this module, ask participants to summarize the main points that they retained from the module on livestock impact (i.e., module # 12, covered just prior to this one.)

¨      What have they retained from the discussions they had on this topic?

¨      The modules concerning the building blocks of the ecosystem should also be mentioned.

¨      Make the transition by stating that they are now going to study a second tool that can be used to achieve the community’s ‘landscape’ goal.


2.    Interpretation of the three sequences of images:


ü      Sequence of overgrazing in years 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

¨      Show the first sequence of 6 images (depicting overgrazing).

¨      Point out that the images show a situation evolving over six consecutive years, and ask participants to interpret them.

¨      If participants seem uncertain as to how to interpret the images, help them a bit by pointing out the worsening condition of one of the two plants, and the development of the other over time.

¨      Participants will tend to focus their attention on the aerial portions of the plants, so they should be encouraged to observe the roots as well.

¨      Ask participants why, under the conditions illustrated, one of the two plants withers and disappears, whereas the other flourishes and multiplies.

¨      Could this be due to rainfall? Or is it perhaps the impact of selective grazing on the part of livestock?

¨      What caused this gradual deterioration and disappearance of the more desirable fodder plant (graminea) and the rise of the less desirable fodder plant (calotropis) over the years?

¨      Tell participants that the issue of overgrazing is so important that it will be discussed in greater detail once they have mastered the concepts of plant grazing and resting times.


ü      Sequence showing rational exploitation in years 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.


¨      Show the second sequence of images, and ask participants once again to interpret them.

¨      This time, encourage participants to compare them with the first sequence (which showed overgrazing). What would explain the fact that the more desirable fodder plant has been able to sustain itself and multiply, while the less desirable plant remains under control?


ü      Sequence showing prolonged rest period in years 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.


¨      Be careful here!: Since a prolonged rest scenario (i.e., one in which an area is declared off-limits for a long time) is highly unusual under the real-life conditions of their grazing areas, participants will probably have more trouble interpreting this sequence than the other ones.

¨      You can therefore help them a bit by having them place this sequence alongside the preceding one, in order to better compare the changes occurring over time with the two plants.

¨      Have participants make a careful comparison of the growth and change of the two plants between the first and sixth years.

¨      Contrary to what was shown by the first sequence, the problem here is not overgrazing: the fading of the vegetation’s color to gray and the tendency of the graminea to develop into a crown-shaped ring should help participants comprehend that the situation illustrated by this sequence is one of prolonged rest, or “undergrazing”.

¨      If participants cannot come up with the answer, then the resource management specialist attending the session may give it to them.


3.    Utilization of the exercise: lessons to be learned


Encourage participants to comprehend the significance of the “grazing and resting” tools. Keeping the three illustrated sequences spread out on the mat, ask questions such as the following:


¨      What does each sequence represent?

¨      Why does the desirable fodder plant (a) disappear in the face of overgrazing; (b) develop steadily with rational grazing; and (c) deteriorate on its own in the event of prolonged rest?

¨      Why does the less desirable plant (a) spread in the event of overgrazing; (b) continue to develop in the case of prolonged rest; and (c) remain under control in a situation of rational grazing?

¨      What relationship do the participants perceive between the time that an animal spends on a grazing area and the development of the plants there?

¨      What impact does the livestock’s nibbling have on plants?

¨      Do plants react in the same way whether they are sought out by livestock or, on the contrary, left uneaten by animals?

¨      Does grazing has a harmful influence on plants during the dry season? If so, under what conditions? What about during the rainy season? Under what conditions?

¨      Does grazing need to be controlled during the dry season?

¨      If livestock is prevented from grazing on plants for a long period, what happens?

¨      While the concept of overgrazing is fairly familiar to herders, can they envision and accept the concept of undergrazing?

¨      What might be the advantages of a fodder plant utilization scheme that would aim at avoiding grazing those plants too much or too little, or, in other words, one aimed at rational utilization?

¨      How can one determine if grazing time is long enough or not?

¨      What is the long-term danger of prolonged rest periods (i.e., of declaring some grazing areas off-limits for a long time?)

¨      Do participants feel that grazing can be considered a tool, i.e., a means of improving vegetation? Under what circumstances can grazing be considered “rational”?


4.    Transition – livestock impact


Wrap up this module by displaying the “grazing and rest” periods” icon, pointing out at the same time that it is the second of four “tools” that the herder possesses to improving his grazing lands. Inform participants that the following module will explore the reasons why the time that livestock spend on a single plant can also be considered a “tool.”




q       As was noted in the text, the concept of “prolonged rest” will likely be a new one for most participants. Special care will therefore need to be taken with the utilization of the third illustrated sequence in this module.

q       At an opportune moment, the resource management specialist serving as resource person for the session should draw the participants’ attention to the process of deterioration and oxidation that occurs with plants that undergo prolonged rest.

q       Be careful! The sequences of six images depict a situation that evolves over time. For simplicity’s sake, one may imply that the time period in question is six years. If this question comes up, point out that this same process may occur over shorter or longer periods, depending on the plant and the circumstances.

The effects of overgrazing occur much faster that the restoration that may occur as a result of rational grazing.









Desired situation:


¨      The herder is familiar with the importance of the resting period (during which the vegetation is protected from the livestock) for the vegetation between two successive bouts of grazing, and of the grazing period, that is the length of the animals’ stay in the grazing area.

¨      The community has the commitment and the organization required to implement them.


Current situation:


¨      Lack of awareness of the relationship between time and overgrazing, which leads to the disappearance, one after another, of the most appetizing fodder plant species;

¨      It is impossible for a single herder to rectify this situation, which can only be managed by the community as a whole, by means of a collective discipline.


Disparity between current and desired situation:


The gap that the module should fill is therefore :


¨      The fact that herders do not know how to use the "time" factor. Even though they acknowledge that it should be taken into account, they are unaware of appropriate durations. When they do know these durations, they have no way of enforcing them.


Objectives of the module:


By the end of the session, participants shall be able to explain the relationships existing between:


¨      Overgrazing and the lack of control over time (leading to deterioration of vegetation);

¨      Relationship between the control of time and the regeneration of the grazing land.




The women and girls of Keur Martin engage in role-playing at the end of the module on using time as a tool. 26/14





Target group:

    The choice of the target group is left up to the community and the outreach team. In this case, the target group shall consist, at least, of :

¨      The pastoral management committee;

¨      The community’s pastoral auxiliaries

¨      Herders or herd guardians.


SARAR exercises utilized by the module:

                Story with a gap (Srinivasan, p. 118)

"The story of the old woman"



Graphical support materials:

Folder # 14

¨      Sequence A: overgrazing -6 images- (uninterrupted grazing with no recuperation period)

¨      Sequence B: proper management -10 images- (intermittent grazing sequence)

¨      Time” icon (a wristwatch).


Approximate duration of the module

                   1 hour      




1.    Introduction (10 minutes)


Remind participants that the module immediately preceding this one was devoted to the impact of livestock, which can be beneficial in some circumstances and disastrous in others (such as in areas around watering points where animals gather). They shall now see how the same “tool” –the impact of livestock—can be either positive or negative, depending on the “time” factor.


Tell the following story:



An old woman lives all alone. Each day she takes her donkey to get water from the well. After a year, she notices that the donkey has worn a path between her house and the well, on each side of which the vegetation has been totally destroyed, because the donkey has eaten everything and has worn away soil by passing over the same spot over and over again with his hooves.


One day, the old woman’s neighbors decide to help her by bringing her enough water to last about one hundred days. They get organized and set out together with all the donkeys in the village, and bring back to her all the water she will need for three months. She is very happy.


But in the course of this one day, the hundreds of donkeys from the village have wrought tremendous damage, not only along the path, but in the entire field. The grass has been trampled and the soil torn up! Once the one hundred days have passed, however, the old women and her neighbors are overjoyed to see that greenery has invaded the entire field as well as the trail, which has nearly disappeared.



Ask for the group’s reaction to the story, and when the participants start to talk about plants, make a transition to the next step.


2.    Analysis of an image: minimum resting time (for plant regeneration) (35 minutes)


Put the posters A (representing continuous presence of livestock) and B (representing periodic change of location of livestock) down on the mat and open the discussion by asking participants to describe what they see in these images:


¨      Where are the reserves of a perennial plant ? (Answer: in its roots)

¨      What happens to a plant’s roots when one cuts off its leaves ? (Answer: the roots wither)

¨      How much time does the plant need to recuperate completely ? (Answer: up to the time the plant attains full maturity)

¨      What happens if one does not give the plant a minimum recuperation period ?

¨      Is it possible to overgraze one plant with a single animal ? How can that be explained?

¨      It is said that the number of animals has to be reduced in order to avoid overgrazing. Does the group agree with that point of view ? Why or why not ?

¨      What conclusion can one draw from that? (Answer: that animals must not be left too long in a particular part of the grazing area)

¨      What happens if animals are kept too long in a single grazing spot ?


3.    Conclusion: role-playing (20 minutes)


In order to consolidate the ideas that the participants exchanged during the two last training sessions, tell the group that the exercise is going to finish with some role-playing. Quickly explain the idea of role-playing (i.e., tell them it’s like a little skit), and ask the group to spend 15 minutes preparing it.


¨      Ask volunteers to incorporate the most important ideas that they retained from the preceding exercises;

¨      Ask also that they suggest one or two things that could be done, based on their new knowledge;

¨      Several characters are involved in the role-playing;

¨      It lasts 5 to 10 minutes

¨      Before the role-playing begins, one of the actors announces the background of the story and introduces the characters;

¨      Once the role-playing is over, the facilitator thanks the audience.


4.    Synthesis of the two modules devoted to “tools”


¨      Agree with the group on an icon that can be used to represent “time” during the rest of the training. A picture of a wristwatch will do.

¨      Ask the group to recall the tools that were recently studied.

¨      Next, ask the group to remember the first discussion of tools. It was agreed that there was an appropriate tool for any given situation, and that tools could be used in different ways depending on what the goals were.

¨      In the course of the next sessions, they are going to look at another tool which, in some circumstances, can be destructive, and which can be useful in some others: the fire.




q       Role-playing is an excellent outreach tool, since it enables the group to recapitulate subjects already discussed, to make a smooth transition between different groups of modules, and to get some welcome entertainment during a session or at the end of the day.

q       Although they need a modicum of help and encouragement before they plunge in, most volunteers, once they are ‘on stage’, display a lot of imagination and enthusiasm.

q       You need to be aware of how important it is for the group to comprehend the importance of time, and of giving a plant the necessary recuperation time, once it has been grazed.

q       “Time” is so important that it will have already been mentioned in the “animal impact” and the “grazing and rest” modules. It will be studied again in more depth in the modules on grazing and resting times

q       At that point, they shall study the period (i.e., the number of days) a plant needs to recuperate after it has been grazed, and the question of how long it can tolerate the presence of animals without suffering from overgrazing.

These resting and grazing “times” are difficult to establish, since they vary for each type of plant, depending on the length of its vegetative phase and the season. This is why they will be studied later, in the instructional unit on planning of grazing.









Desired situation


Whatever its environment may be, the herding community considers fire as a tool that may be appropriately used under certain conditions.


Current situation


Fire (brush fires) is considered a scourge to be combated by all possible means. While it is true that fire has seldom a place as a tool under the semi-arid conditions of most WAPPP sites, it may prove highly useful in the sub-humid zones.


Disparity between current and desired situation


Herders are prey to the common herding misperception that a given phenomenon (such as fire, or livestock impact) is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in and of itself. The study of fire as a potential “tool”, even in locales where it may not be appropriate, will help reinforce the holistic concept that no “tool” is good or bad in itself. The validity of each “tool” is assessed on the basis of the ecosystem and the goals of the community concerned.


Objectives of the module


                By the end of the training session, participants shall be able to describe the consequences of utilizing fire as a tool, in terms of the four building blocks of their ecosystem.




This tool has not yet been dealt with by those in charge of preparing this manual, due to time constraints and also due to the fact that, until Guinea became involved in the WAPPP, fire was not a “tool” to be recommended in the ecological zone covered by the pilot program.










Desired situation


Tools as well as technologies are absolutely required to pass tests before they are accepted and implemented.


Current situation


                Herders (and conventionally-trained technicians) have an automatic tendency to choose “technologies” to solve the “problems” of grazing land degradation, and to neglect “tools” that are immediately available, such as animal impact, grazing and rest, and time,.


Disparity between current and desired situation


                There is confusion regarding the difference between a technology and a tool.


Objectives of the module


By the end of the training session, participants shall be able to explain the difference between tools that can be deployed simply by using livestock and the grazing area, and technologies, which involve the use of resources other than livestock and grazing lands.




Target group :


The choice of the target group is left up to the community and the outreach team. In this case, the target group must include at least the following persons:

¨      Pastoral management committee

¨      Herding auxiliaries

¨      Shepherds or herd guardians



















Of all the technologies available, the installation of water pumping equipment is the one most appreciated by women. (41/01)



Exercise utilized by the module :

                Mini brainstorming session;

                "Technology card game"


Graphic supports :

                Folder #16;


Approximate duration of the module:

                1 hour




1.    Introduction :


¨      Introduce this module by stating that technologies are the last item that will be examined under the instructional unit on “management tools”.

¨      Emphasize that the “tools” studied thus far (i.e., animal impact, grazing and rest, time, and fire) have not been “objets” but instead “actions”, as was pointed out at the beginning of the instructional unit.

¨      Display the “technologies” icon, which depicts a tractor.


2.    Brainstorming session on technologies and the “technology card game”


¨      Introduce the brainstorming session by pointing out that everyone is familiar with various technologies, having either used them themselves or seen them used by others.

¨      Have participants give a quick run-down of the various technologies they are familiar with.

¨      For each idea, give the participant who mentioned it a card with the corresponding picture, which can be found in the stack of images contained in the folder for module #16. If a participant mentions a technology for which there is no corresponding picture, ask the person who mentioned it to make his own quick sketch of it on a blank card.

¨      The winner of the game is the one who has accumulated the most cards.


3.    Reflection: comparing technologies with tools


On the mat, spread out before the participants the icons depicting the previously-studied instructional unit “management tools”.

If all the available cards have not been distributed, show them and hand them out to the other participants. Reflection can now be stimulated by asking participants to compare the tools and technologies with each other.


¨      What is the difference between the “technologies” that were just identified and the “tools” studied previously?

¨      Do the “tools” involve the mobilization of external resources? (e.g., equipment, inputs, etc.)

¨      Conversely, can the actions involved in applying a given technology be implemented using only the resources available to the herder (i.e., his herd, his grazing land, and his labor)?


4.    Exercise : Substituting “tools” for technologies


Next, affix the icons depicting the other tools (i.e., animal impact, grazing and rest, time) and technologies (i.e., the tractor) to the flip chart, or spread them out on the mat in front of the participants.


Ask participants to show, one after the other, the technology cards that they have, and have them sort them (either on the flip chart or the mat) into four separate columns, explaining the rationale for their classification. The categories might be:


¨      Technologies intended to compensate for the failure to respect the “time” factor (e.g., re-seeding, regeneration of shrubs, anti-erosion installations);

¨      Technologies that could be replaced by “grazing” (e.g., destruction of less desirable plants, fire, deliberate brushfire, etc.);

¨      Technologies that could be replaced by “animal impact” (e.g., loosening of hardpan, destruction of less desirable fodder plants);

¨      Technologies that cannot be replaced by any of these three tools (e.g., vaccination, water supply, grain milling, etc.).


Continue in this manner until all the cards have been shown and placed into one of the four columns.


5.    Conclusion: lessons to be learned


Get participants to reflect on this exercise and derive its lessons :


¨      Given a choice between technologies and tools that exist, which can be applied most easily and repeatedly by the herder?

¨      Which technologies can be replaced by very simple “tools” that every herder has access to at any time?

¨      Which technologies cannot be replaced by the three other tools?

¨      Why?

¨      Have they considered the possibility of replacing technologies with something else?

¨      Do they recall any circumstances in which other herders abandoned (or were persuaded to abandon) tools in favor of technologies? Why?

¨      What lessons can be learned from this exercise and in particular from this discussion?

¨      Can they already think of some technologies that no longer seem necessary, since they can be replaced by simple tools? What are those technologies?


6.    Transition to the next instructional unit


To sum up, show the participants the specific “technologies” icon (a tractor), and place it next to the three other tools previously placed under the generic “tool” icon.




q       People often have trouble understanding the term “technologies". Prior to the training session, determine the most appropriate term in the community’s language and make sure that it is well understood by all participants.

The use of technologies has often been the only response of conventional herding communities for many years. It should therefore not be surprising if participants can visualize the use of technologies more readily than they can imagine using available “tools” that do not involve external resources.