TABLE of CONTENTS: Management principles

24. Plants to be promoted

25. minimum resting time (mRT)

26. Maximum grazing time (MGT)

27. Overgrazing

28. mRT, MGT and division into paddocks

The bespectacled crocodile

by John Hall

An illustrated manual for facilitating Holistic Management in pastoral communities.

Some rights reserved. You may copy and distribute this manual or parts of it if you (1) credit the original authors, (2) include this notice, including the copyright license information below, and (3) on partial copies, include the following link where people may download the complete manual. English and French versions are available at

You may create and distribute derivative works, adaptations, and translations under the same conditions. If possible, please make an electronic copy available for public distribution (you can do this through, and send the URL to the author:

the author.

If you wish to use this manual for commercial purposes, please contact the author.

Creative Commons license:






Introduction to the “management principles” instructional unit : (5 minutes)


Bring the group over to a brick dwelling near the meeting place and observe how it is constructed :


¨                  Why do people build walls by putting one brick atop another?

¨                  Can a house be built with only one or two bricks?

¨                  Can one stop construction after having placed two or three rows of bricks and consider the house to be finished? Why not?


Now explain that the next five training sessions will be devoted to principles that must be thoroughly understood if one wants to manage natural resources in a sustainable manner.


¨                  Display the “management principles” icon (a section of brick wall, as it happens) and explain why this image was chosen;

Conclude the introduction, stating that they will begin by identifying plants that they would like to see re-appear and/or proliferate on the grazing lands, in accordance with the community’s landscape goals.


MODULE # 24:








Desired situation


The herding community chooses the forage species that it wishes to promote, and manages them in accordance with this goal.


Current situation


                In most cases, herders regard the decline of some forage species, with the gradual disappearance of perennial species and their replacement by annual species, as an inevitability over which they have no control.


Disparity between current and desired situation


Lack of understanding of the phenomena of succession and regression of vegetation.


Objectives of the module


By the end of the training session, participants shall be able to identify the forage plant species whose expansion would improve the quality of their grazing lands, and shall incorporate them into their future landscape goal.




Target group :

The choice of the target group is left up to the community and the outreach team. The target group must include representatives of at least the following:

¨      the pasture management committee

¨      auxiliary herdsmen

¨      shepherds or cattle drivers


Exercise used by the module :


Evaluation grid along the lines of the “pocket chart” (Srinavasan, p.93)


Graphic supports: :

Folder # 24


Approximate duration of the module :

                1 hour





A participant sketches the vanished plant that he would like to see return to the grazing area. This drawing will be posted on the "pocket chart". (33/17)





1.    Introduction :


This introduction consists of recalling two earlier modules: namely, the “Landscape goal” module (# 7) and the "Ecological succession" module (# 11).


Indicate that the discussion will once again focus on the goal that the community set, at the very beginning of the training session, in terms of the future landscape that it would like to promote. Ask participants to summarize what was envisaged at that time (or, if necessary, bring out the community goal formulation form that was supposed to be filled out (in the local language) at the end of the second instructional unit on the “holistic goal”. Ask participants to reflect a bit and imagine what their future landscape might look like. The following questions may be asked:


¨      Which herbaceous annual species do they want to see in their landscape?

¨      Which herbaceous perennial species do they want to have in their landscape?

¨      Which shrubs would they also like to see develop?

¨      Ask participants if the plants that they want to promote are among those that they identified as “vanished species” at the end of the “ecological succession” module (#11).


2.    Brainstorming on plants to be promoted :


Remind participants that when they agreed on their “landscape goal”, they included a few species of plants, and indicate that the time has come to see what is feasible. Among the species cited, which ones would the participants like to promote , i.e.., which ones would they like to see re-appear and/or develop?


An alternative to the use of ready-made images of plants is to ask participants to sketch the plants that they designate. Even if the drawing is clumsy, it will be more readily accepted if they have drawn it themselves.


Be sure to emphasize the promotion aspect. Allow participants discuss for five minutes, and ask them to name the species. Then place pictures of the six broad plant categories available on the pocket chart, which is on the mat in front of the participants. For each species cited, ask participants to choose the picture that most closely resembles the species cited (even if there is not much resemblance). Keep these images beside you for use during Step 5.


3.    Brainstorming on plant selection criteria:


Ask participants: why would they like to resuscitate the plants that they cited, and not others? What would these species contribute that is particularly important to them?


Participants will probably put forth some arguments in favor of the plants of their choosing. If they do not, stimulate discussion with some questions, such as :


¨                  Are they good food for livestock ?

¨                  Do they help prevent soil erosion ?

¨                  Do they continue to grow once the rainy season is over?

¨                  Are they adapted to local conditions and drought-resistant?

¨                  Are they also useful to people (e.g., by supplying fruit, seeds, medicines)?

¨                  Do they produce abundant fodder?


For each idea, show the corresponding image, which is also contained in Folder # 24. (Remember to include an image showing the plant’s adaptation to local conditions).

If other reasons are given, quickly sketch a new image to represent them.

The exercise will probably be halted after 5 images or so, after which the pocket chart (Step 5) would become too cumbersome to handle.


4.    Pocket chart: choice of plants to promote


Explain to participants that at this point they are to consult the first list they made, i.e., the one listing plants to be promoted. Ask this question:


¨      “Do the plants that they have chosen allow them to achieve the landscape goal that they set for their community?”

Explain that the idea is now to proceed with an evaluation and a plant-by-plant selection, using the pocket chart.


¨      Attach a large sheet of paper, on which the pocket chart arrangement has already been drawn, to the flip-chart easel. (It is not necessary to attach the pockets themselves; squares drawn on the paper will suffice.)

¨      Spread out the images of the potential plants along the vertical axis, and the selection criteria along the horizontal axis.

¨      Next, ask participants to study the table carefully, to discuss amongst themselves for a few minutes and to make a decision about each plant according to each criterion.

¨      Ask a participant to play the role of "secretary", and if the plant meets one of the selection criteria, to check off the corresponding box.

¨      Proceed in this way for each plant and each criterion, until all have been examined.

¨      Let participants contemplate the results for a minute.


It sometimes occurs that the participants feel that all the plants meet all the selection criteria equally. In that case, carry out another selection round, this time asking participants to use a different color felt marker for the plant which, for a given selection criterion, is better than all the others.


5.    Utilization : Plants to be promoted according to the landscape goal


Encourage participants to ponder the results of this exercise by asking, for example, the following questions:


¨      Are you surprised by the results? Would you have chosen them without going through the selection criteria?

¨      Do the species really correspond to your vision of a future landscape?

¨      Have you ever tried to “promote” a given plant, i.e., have you ever used grazing lands with the intention of fostering the development of a given species ?

¨      Have you ever heard of a project or program that tried to do this?

¨      What were the results? In your opinion, why did this attempt succeed (or fail)?


6.    Transition to the “minimum resting time” module


If participants have no further questions or comments on the results of the exercise, announce that it is time to go on to the next session, emphasizing that the first "brick” of the principles of management has been put in place. Indeed, they have now chosen the species to be promoted in accordance with their objectives and their landscape goal. Display the icon representing the "plants to be promoted" module and place it next to the first one.


To expand on the metaphor of the brick wall, if we want to have a solid house, we must of course use sturdy materials, just as one must be able to count on productive and hardy fodder species in order to have a stable ecosystem.


We shall now study some concepts that will help manage grazing lands in such a way as to promote the forage species they have chosen .




q       During the exercise, and upon its conclusion, stress the difference between annual and perennial plants, and their respective characteristics. Explanations will be provided, when needed, by the resource management specialist of the outreach team.

q       It must also be clearly understood that, in encouraging the re-emergence of perennial plants, for example, one is not eliminating annuals which, as we shall see, are very resilient and can be relied upon to continue to develop.


MODULE # 25:








Desired situation


¨      The herding community plans the utilization of its grazing lands.

¨      It implements this program on the basis of its own observations of the evolution of vegetation over time.


Current situation


Herders’ observations of the condition of vegetation do not affect the way in which they manage their herds and grazing lands.


Disparity between current situation and desired situation


¨      Herders do not seek to determine the minimum resting time (mRT) of forage species that they would like to resuscitate.

¨      In any case, their individual grazing strategies do not allow them to respect these mRTs.


Objectives of the module


                By the end of the training session, the target group shall be able to determine the mRTs of the plants it would like to resuscitate, during their growing season (i.e., the rainy season) as well as during their dormancy (i.e., the dry season).




Target group :

The choice of the target group is left up to the community and the outreach team. The target group must include representatives of at least the following:

¨      the pastoral management committee

¨      auxiliary herdsmen

¨      shepherds or cattle drivers


Exercise used by the module :

                Semi-structured exercise based on a sequence of 10 illustrations.


Graphic supports: :

                Folder # 25


Approximate duration of the module :

                1 hour





Participants attentively study the accordion poster illustrating the mRT and the MGT. (34/02)






1.    Introduction :


Approach this module by emphasizing that, among the plants that the herders would like to promote in their future landscape, some have already been gone for years. Ask participants the following questions:


¨      Why did they disappear? What contributed to their disappearance or caused it ? Drought? Overgrazing? Human intervention? Other factors?

¨      How can one promote the species considered important to the community landscape and to its specific village land management objectives? Can one, for example:

§         cultivate these plants over large areas;

§         propagate them in nurseries;

§         use fertilizer;

§         protect them from animals;

§         keep outsiders from using the grazing lands;

§         harvest them, etc.


2.    Recalling the “Time tool” module


Acknowledge that there are indeed many technologies that could foster the multiplication of this plant, but indicate that, in the next two modules, the discussion shall be limited to the care that can be taken in exploiting the plant itself, as mentioned in the “Time” module (# 14).


3. Use of the 10 sequential images


Display the series of 10 images (plants/cow) contained in Folder #14 for this module, and ask participants to look at it carefully and interpret what it shows.

Suggest that they observe in particular what happens in the aerial part of the plant, as well as at the root level. Indeed, the roots play an essential role in the processes of:

¨      reconstitution of the aerial portion when the plant is grazed;

¨      accumulation of reserves when the plant is protected from animals.


One might then ask the following questions, for example:


¨      With reference to the “time” module , what happens when one exposes the fodder plant to continuous grazing by animals? (Answer: It will obviously become exhausted and disappear);

¨      From the time that the plant ceases to be exposed to grazing, how much time does it need to recover its original size and for its roots to reconstitute their reserves?

¨      Be sure to show that this recovery time is represented in the sequence, by images “without the cow”, i.e., that we are talking about the time elapsing between when the cow stops grazing (4th image) until the cow is shown once again standing over the plant which has regained its original size (8th image);


Explain that they shall call this interval the “minimum resting time”, or mRT.(In order to facilitate the reading, the m of “minimum” is written in lower case, while the M of “Maximum” is written in uppercase). Ask participants the following questions:


¨      According to their observations, is this mRT is the same for all plants, or does it vary depending on the forage species (e.g., herbaceous, shrubs, etc.);

¨      Did they observe that the mRT is constant, or that it varies depending on the season (e.g., growth in rainy season and dormancy during the dry season)?

¨      Do they know of other situations in which one uses a similar concept (e.g., cases of people convalescing after an illness in order to regain their strength and reserves, a bit like the plant in the sequence of images);

¨      Have participants observe that there is a relationship between the actual recovery time, the intensity of grazing, and the amount of time the plant needs to return to a condition in which it can be grazed again;

¨      When a plant is grazed excessively, does it take more time to recover than when it was grazed more lightly ? Why?


4.    Determining the rainy season mRTs of species chosen


Return to the images of species that the community would like to promote, and that were posted on the pocket chart at the end of the preceding module. Have participants discuss for a few minutes and ask them to come to an agreement amongst themselves on the duration of this mRT (expressed as a number of days).


¨      For the first species selected, how many days must elapse during the rainy season between the time when it stops being grazed and the time when it has completely recovered?

¨      Next, ask the “village secretary” to record (in the local language) the number of days needed for this recovery next to the image of the first plant.

¨      Ask the same question in turn for each of the other selected species, and note the duration of the mRTs next to the corresponding illustrations.

¨      Even during the rainy season, when vegetation grows more quickly than during the rest of the year, the plant needs time to compensate for the losses due to grazing and to regain their initial size. During the rainy season, the mRT is a few weeks (20 to 30 days being the commonly advanced figures).


5.    Determining the dry season mRTs of species chosen


Ask participants if the Minimum resting time (mRT) is the same during the dry season as during the rainy season. (Answer: Obviously, it is much longer, since plants grow more slowly during the dry season than during the rainy season.)


Allow the participants to agree on the dry season mRT for each species chosen, and record these mRTs on the table of folders, as was done under Step 4 above.


Unlike annuals, of course, only perennial plants have a dry season mRT. Since growth is much slower than during the rest of the year, it can be as much as three to four months, depending on the case.


6.    Conclusions / lessons to be learned :


Help the participants to learn the lessons of this exercise by asking them a few questions, such as:


·        What does this figure (i.e., the mRT) represent? (Answer: The minimum number of days that must be provided to a plant between the moment it is protected from grazing, and the return of grazing animals;

·        How might one explain the mRT to herders who have not attended this training session?

·        What would they say to herders who had not attended this outreach session in order to persuade them of the importance of this idea?

·        Are people in the habit of taking the mRT of various fodder plants into account when bringing animals to graze on them ?

·        What is the risk to vegetation when one fails to observe the mRT of species to be promoted by staying too long in the same part of the grazing area ?

·        How can one respect the mRTs of several species that one wants to promote, when these mRTs are different? (Answer: In order to ensure the recovery of all the plants in question, grazing of vegetation may only resume once the period corresponding to longest mRT has elapsed.)


7.    Transition to the "Maximum grazing time" module


If participants have no further questions or comments, introduce the next training session by explaining that the second “brick” in the principles of management is now in place. The participants are now able to monitor the minimum resting times (mRT) of forage plants that they want to promote. Now show participants the icon representing the mRT and place it alongside those that have already been studied.


Announce that the next session will deal with a similar concept just as important as the resting time for plants: i.e., the Maximum grazing time (MGT).


MODULE # 26:








Desired situation


¨      The herding community plans the utilization of its grazing lands.

¨      It implements this plan on the basis of its observations of changes in vegetation over time.


Current situation


¨      Herders do not take their observations of the condition of vegetation into account in managing their herds and grazing lands.

¨      They make decisions about herd movements based on the quantity of pasturage remaining on the grazing land, and not on the basis of the plants’ requirements.


Disparity between current and desired situation


¨      Herders do not know how to determine the Maximum grazing time (MGT) of the forage plants that they want to resuscitate.

¨      In any case, their individual utilization strategies make it impossible for them to adhere to this MGT.

Objectives of the module


                By the end of the training session, the target group shall be able to determine the MGT of the plants that it would like to resuscitate, for the growing season as well as for the period of dormancy.




Target group :

The choice of the target group is left up to the community and the outreach team. The target group in any case should include representatives of at least the following:

·        the pastoral management committee

·        auxiliary herdsmen

·        shepherds or cattle drivers





The "secretary" of the session and a participant pose in front of indications of the dry-season and rainy-season mRT and MGT for two plants that they have sketched themselves. (34/07)



Exercise utilized by the module :

                Semi-structured exercise based on a sequence of 10 illustrations.


Graphic supports: :

Folder # 26


Approximate duration of the module :

                1 hour





1.    Introduction :


Establish the connection between the preceding session and the MGT concept by asking participants to summarize the main idea of the mRT concept. Emphasize in the ensuing discussion that it is not only the recovery, or resting time that is important in promoting forage plants, but also their utilization, or grazing time.


This discussion shall be based on the illustrated sequence of 10 images used for the preceding “minimum resting time” module (# 25). For this module, participants must understand that the duration of utilization, or grazing, is represented in the sequence by images in which the cow is present: The first image is supposed to represent the time when the cow begins to graze on the plant, and the second image is supposed to show the time when the cow leaves this grazing area and begins to let the plant recover.


As in the preceding module, make sure that participants do not limit themselves to observations of what happens to the aerial portion of the plants, and that they understand the essential role played by the roots in the process.


Next, discuss the impact of the animals’ behavior on the plants:


¨      From the time when an animal begins to graze on a plant, how much time passes before the plant begins to grow again?

¨      Is this time the same for every forage species (e.g., herbaceous, shrubs, etc.)?

¨      Is it the same in every season (e.g., during the rainy season, dry season, etc.)? (Answer: Obviously not, since vegetal growth is slower during the dry season than during the rainy season).

¨      Do all plants grow at the same speed? What is the implication of this speed for the Maximum grazing time?


2.    Determining the rainy-season MGT of selected plants


Return to the images of the plants that the community has chosen to promote, and that are displayed on the table of folders. Have participants discuss for a few minutes, and then ask, for example, the following questions:


¨      How many days may elapse, during the rainy season, between the time when the first selected plant begins to be grazed and the time when it begins to grow back?

¨      Once the participants have conferred with each other and agreed upon a figure (i.e., a number of days), ask the “secretary” to write this figure (in “Arabic” numerals) next to the image of the corresponding plant on the pocket chart;

¨      Ask the same question for each of the previously selected plants in turn, and record the group’s response next to the image of the corresponding plant.

¨      During the rainy season, the plant of course tends to resume its growth very soon after having been grazed; herders will usually indicate MGTs ranging from 3 to 5 days.


3.    Determining the dry-season MGT of selected species


Continue the procedure followed for the mRT module (# 25) above, asking participants the following questions:


¨      Is the MGT, i.e., the number of days that elapse between the time a plant starts to be grazed and the time when it begins to grow back, the same in the dry season as in the rainy season?

¨      Allow participants to discuss and determine this number of days during the dry season for each of the desired species, as was done in the second step of this module.

¨      As is the case with the mRT, the MGT figure increases considerably during the dry season, during which the vegetative process slows greatly. Values ranging from 8 to 10 days will be suggested by herders for most plants.


At this point, helped by the outreach team’s resource management specialist, you may introduce the idea of the growth of perennial plants during the dry season. It may prove difficult to make this distinction in severely degraded Sahelian regions where herders scarcely have any more opportunity to observe perennial species apart from the arboreal stratum.


¨      Is there any plant growth during the dry season?

¨      If they do indeed note that during this season, annual species have totally ceased to grow (either because they have disappeared or because they are completely desiccated), do they know of any plants which, like trees and shrubs, continue to develop during the dry season ? (Answer: perennials)

¨      Why are these species of interest in comparison to annuals?


4.    Utilization of the exercise:


Get participants to work out the MGT concept for themselves by asking the following questions:


¨      When animals have a chance to graze a plant continuously -- first the plant itself and then the young shoots that are trying to develop (and which are the most appetizing) -- what effect does this have on the plant? (Answer: Its reserves are exhausted, it can no longer develop, cannot regain its initial size and will gradually disappear).

¨      What does the number of days that they have just estimated actually mean? What happens to the plant during this period? (Answer: It is regenerating its aerial foliage using energy from its roots, and then re-stocks carbohydrates synthesized from chlorophyll, and from which it reconstitutes its root reserves);

¨      Is there a relationship between the intensity of grazing and the Maximum Utilization Time? What is it?


5.    Conclusion: lessons to be learned from the exercise:


We saw, in the preceding session, that there are different mRTs for each plant.


¨      What does the figure that we are now discussing (i.e., the MGT) represents?

¨      How would they explain the MGT to a herder who has not attended this outreach session?

¨      What would they say to the herders who were absent to convince them of the importance of this notion ?

¨      Do they usually take the MGT of the plants on their grazing lands into account when their livestock is grazing?

¨      What risk is involved if one does not respect the Maximum grazing time (MGT) of species that one would like to see develop, and if one keeps livestock too long in the same place?

¨      What must one do to respect the MGT of several species to be promoted, when they are different from each other? (Answer: Limit the duration of grazing to the number of days corresponding to the species with the shortest MGT).


6.    Transition to the following Module


If the participants have no further questions or comments, introduce the next session by explaining that they have just put in place the third “brick” of the management’s principles. They are now familiar with the Maximum grazing time of the species they want to promote. Now display the icon representing the « MGT » and place it alongside those that have already been studied.

Announce that the next module will deal with the risk involved in ignoring the concepts of mRT and MGT, and which consist in overgrazing.




q       The outreach team’s resource management specialist will need to make sure that participants have understood the connection between MGT, mRT and grazing intensity. The longer the MGT, the more severely defoliated the plant becomes, and the greater the plant’s need for a longer mRT.


MODULE # 27:








Desired situation


The herding community manages its pastures, taking into account the fact that degradation due to overgrazing proceeds on a plant-by-plant basis.


Current situation


¨      Herders perceive the deterioration of their pastures due to overgrazing as if it affected the vegetation as a whole, and not just one plant at a time;

¨      Herders imagine that overgrazing is due to an excessive number of animals, and fail to realize that overgrazing can result from the continuous presence of only one animal.


Disparity between current and desired situation


                Lack of understanding of the overgrazing process, due to the herders’ inability to see the functional link between their field-level observations and the idea they have of the process of pasture degradation.


Objectives of the module


                By the end of the training session, herders will be able to explain the process of overgrazing. This explanation will take into account the respect of the minimum resting time on the one hand and, on the other, the respect of the Maximum grazing time and, finally, the process by which animals select species that herders would like to rehabilitate.




Target group :

The choice of the target group is left up to the community and the outreach team. It should include representatives of at least the following:

·        the pastoral management committee

·        auxiliary herdsmen

·        shepherds or cattle drivers





 Participants from the village of Kiézé (Chad) are invited to choose a sweet from among those offered, in order to illustrate the mechanism of overgrazing. (34/08)



Exercise utilized by the module :

                The “candy game”

                The “open-ended” story of the village of Oukaltine;


Graphic supports: :

                Posters of the village of Ndourndour (Folder # 7)


Approximate duration of the module :

                1 hour





1.    Introduction : Candy game


Place on the mat, in a dish or calabash, some candies or other treat that the participants enjoy to varying degrees (e.g., peanuts, dates, chili peppers).

Be sure that there is a choice among at least three types of candy or treats, with at least three pieces of each, and that there is a clear hierarchy of preference on the part of the participants.


Invite the participants, in turn, to choose and take a candy or treat, according to their preference.


Once most of the pieces have been picked up by the participants, stop the game and ask participants to describe what they observed.


¨      Did all flavors of candy or types of treats disappear equally fast?

¨      Which candies or treats disappeared first? Why?

¨      Do animals display food preferences, as humans do?

¨      Announce that they will now hear a story.


2. The story of the village of Oukaltine


Before starting to tell the story of this village, place on the flip-chart or on the mat, the two posters of the village of Ndourndour from the “Landscape goal” module (# 7): one with an image of luxuriant vegetation (before its deterioration) and the other showing a degraded environment (due to overgrazing). Then tell the story as expressively as possible.



Oukaltine was once a green village in the midst of the forest. This forest was very

dense, with very tall trees, bushes and plants of various kinds species and in very great

numbers. There were also so many wild animals that the population could get all the

meat it needed by hunting.


The community was good at using its village lands: its livestock was in good condition

and produced enough milk and meat. This situation lasted until about forty years ago,

when the young people began to migrate towards the city, the herders’ organization

began to fall apart, and there was less control over land management. For example,

livestock was allowed to wander without supervision. Animals remained close to the

village and its well and essentially grazed the same spots constantly.


Without any controls, the animals had plenty of time to choose the fodder plants they

liked best. Of course, they began to seek out the most appetizing ones. After some time

of grazing, these plants tried to regenerate by producing very tender shoots that

were even more delicious than the older part of the plant, and to which the animals

gravitated as soon as they emerged. Indeed, each time a plant is grazed, it tries to

regenerate after a few days, but if the livestock is still there waiting for the most tender

shoots, the plant ends up exhausting its reserves and disappears completely.


Once the most appetizing plant is gone, the animals are forced to settle for something

a little less appetizing, just as we humans settle for bread when there is no more cake

and we are still hungry. The same thing happened here: since the animals

concentrated on this second type of plant, it suffered the same fate as the first, and

ended up disappearing also.


Thus, one by one, the most appetizing species of plants disappeared, thus enabling

the least appetizing plants to colonize the grazing area, until the only things left on the

grazing land were absolutely unpalatable plants that neither cattle nor wild animals

would touch. The herd got thinner and thinner and the wild game began to disappear,

too. Monkey that had previously come up to huts to steal maize became scarce, and

nobody remembered having seen any gazelles, which had been abundant in the

forest in the old days, according to the village elders.


Since there was now nothing left to feed the livestock, the herders had to migrate to

other regions in search of pasturage, thus erasing the name of Oukaltine from the map.



3.    Utilization and lessons to be learned from the story :


Once you have finished telling the story, ask participants if they have any questions in need of clarification. If they don’t, have them contemplate what happened in the village of Oukaltine:


¨      Does this story remind them of anything that they might have had a chance to observe around your own village ?

¨      Does this story seem made-up to them, or do they think it’s a true story?

¨      If one does in fact put animals on grazing land, what plant do they start to graze on? Why?

¨      Why do animals return constantly to the same grazing spot?

¨      In their view, is overgrazing the result of an excessive number of animals? Why or why not?

¨      What very practical lessons can one derive from this story, regarding the deeper causes of overgrazing and the degradation of pasture lands?

¨      In their own tradition, is there a proverb that might illustrate the important ideas contained in this story?


4.    Demonstration on the flip-chart


Once feedback has been obtained on the story of the village of Oukaltine, you place a large sheet of blank paper on the flipchart and, felt-tip markers in hand, go back over the story of Oukaltine emphasizing what happened at the level of the plants. (Be careful not to go into too much detail.)


The demonstration consists of drawing a large circle representing the perimeter of the grazing land, with small tufts of vegetation of different colors inside the circle. Then you explain what happens first with the most appetizing plant (e.g., the green one), then to the one that is a little less appetizing (e.g., the blue one), finally leaving only the one that the animals will not touch at all (e.g., the red one.)


5. Utilization of the demonstration


Once the flipchart demonstration is over, make the following points:


¨      The number of animals is not the issue: when this number decreases, as it does at the end of the story, the environment is no better off.

¨      The issue is the fact that the plants are grazed selectively, one after the other;

¨      Insist also on the fact that the most tender parts of the plant (i.e., the new shoots) are most eagerly sought out by the animals, which are less interested in older vegetation that could tolerate grazing;

¨      Overgrazing occurs on a plant-by-plant basis over time; given enough time, a single animal left continuously in a large pasture can cause overgrazing;

¨      Finally, do the participants think that the villagers of Oukaltine respect the mRTs and MGTs in managing their grazing lands? Why?


6.Transition to the next module: “Division into paddocks"


If the participants have no further questions or comments, introduce the next session by explaining that they have just put in place the fourth “brick” of the principles of management. Display the icon representing “Overgrazing” and add it to the others.


Announce that, in the next session, they shall study how to use the two ideas of mRT and MGT to manage grazing lands, avoid overgrazing and promote forage plants that have been selected for development.

MODULE # 28:








Desired situation:


                For a community to be able to manage its resources adequately:

¨      its pasturage must be organized into paddocks in such a way as to allow periods of grazing by animal and plant resting to occur in succession;

¨      There must be a consensus, among community members, on the delimitation of these paddocks, and there must be an obligation to have animals graze in accordance with a grazing management plan.


Current situation


In reality, however, the situation is the following:

¨      The reigning principle is that of “every man for himself”: livestock wanders and moves about at the herders’ individual initiatives;

¨      The vegetation’s need for recovery time is not respected, and pasturage thus deteriorates.


Disparity between current and desired situation


¨      Undifferentiated perception of grazing lands that make time management impossible;

¨      The organization of the herding community stands in the way of consultation prior to the introduction of a collective disciplines aimed at rational utilization (planned introduction of animals onto paddocks and planned herd movements).


Objectives of the module


At the end of the session, the participants shall be able to:

¨      determine the number of paddocks on their grazing lands on the basis of the mRTs and MGTs of the forage plants that they want to promote;

¨      show how a more intricate time management involves a greater number of paddocks.





A participant experiments with the arrangement of “pie slices’ in order to determine the minimum number of paddocks required. (35/06)





Target group :

The choice of the target group is left up to the community and the outreach team. It must, however, include representatives of at least the following:

·        the pastoral management committee

·        auxiliary herdsmen

·        shepherds or cattle drivers


Exercises utilized by the module :

                Inter-active presentation using flip-chart or other tool;

                Practical exercises dealing with real-life cases.


Graphic supports: :

Folder # 28, limited to the specific icon


Approximate duration of the module :

                1 hour





1.    Introduction and linkage with the “overgrazing” module (# 27)

¨      Acknowledge to participants that the four preceding modules (i.e., the “bricks”) constituting the ‘management’s principles” instructional unit might seem a bit theoretical. Reassure them that they are now going to understand how the ideas they have worked out, i.e., the mRT and MGT in particular, can be directly applied to the planning of resource use so that they can improve their environment.

¨      Then suggest to one or two participants that they briefly summarize what they recall about these modules in connection with recovery, or resting time, grazing time and overgrazing.

¨      Next, ask the group if any participants have a idea of how one might go about dealing with overgrazing. In particular, if resting and grazing times are so important, how might one figure out a way to adhere to them?

¨      Some participants may already be familiar with some sort of rotational grazing and may suggest that the solution lies in the subdivision of pasture lands into smaller paddocks. If this is the case, the group will have not trouble transitioning to this module.

¨      In any case, take care not to allow brainstorming to go too far, and not to replicate the brainstorming that took place in module # 24. The point here is simply to introduce a new idea.


2.    Presentation of the idea of division into paddocks


ü      Absence of subdivision

On the flipchart (or, if none is available, in the sand) draw a circle representing the grazing lands belonging to the participants’ community. Assuming that the village’s herd is on this pasture land, can they think of a way to apply the resting and grazing times to the vegetation there? The answer is, of course, no: the livestock is constantly in the same place and is free to return at any time to the same plant.


ü      Subdivision of grazing land into two parts

Next, draw a second circle, dividing it this time into two halves. Assuming that the village’s herd can be concentrated onto one of the two halves of the pasture, have conditions been created that would make it possible to manage resting and grazing times? Indeed, participants may note that, if the herd is on one part of the grazing area, where the vegetation is being used, the vegetation on the other half is not being grazed and therefore has a chance to regenerate. The problem is that the MGT is in this case the same as the mRT. We know, however that the MGT is always shorter than the mRT, and that this solution is still not satisfactory.


ü      Subdivision of grazing land into four parts

Next draw a third circle, dividing it into four quarters. Assuming that the animals are kept in each of the quarters in turn, it is obvious that conditions are being created to ensure that the plants have an MGT three times shorter than the mRT, since the animals will occupy the three other subdivisions of the grazing land before returning to the same plant. We are getting closer to a solution.


ü      Subdivision of the pasture into eight parts

This time, do not explain anything to the participants: simply ask each one to draw two additional lines to subdivide the grazing area into eight parts, and ask what the advantage is of this subdivision into even smaller parts. In this case, the maximum grazing time becomes seven times shorter than the recovery time, since the animals visit seven other subdivisions before they can return to the same part of the pasture. Ask participants to explain the advantage of dividing the grazing area into even more (and even smaller) parcels.


ü      Utilization of the exercise

Let participants reflect for a few moments on these images (on the ground or on the flip-chart), since this idea of subdividing grazing land is probably new to them.

¨      Tell them that each of the grazing subdivisions that will make it possible to manage resting and grazing times shall henceforth be referred to as a “paddocks;

¨      Since resting and grazing times are managed by manipulating the number of paddocks, the idea now is to decide on a number of paddocks based on the MGT and mRT of the plants one wants to encourage.


3.    Concrete examples of division into paddocks


Then, you draw a circle on the flip-chart and proposes, as an example, a MGT of 5 days.


¨      Draw a small paddock within this circle and write the MGT figure (e.g., 5 days) in it. This is the maximum amount of time that livestock may be allowed to stay in this paddocks. Affix the image of a herd to this paddock.

¨      We now need to calculate the number of paddocks on the basis of the mRT (e.g., 50 days.). This is the minimum amount of time that must elapse before the animals may return to the same paddock.

¨      You therefore depart from this parcel, taking the animals (move the image). But it is not possible to remain for 50 days on a single large parcel. So, what can one do? (Divide it again.) Into how many paddocks?

¨      Instead of choosing a figure at random and then having to calculate and re-calculate, divide the mRT (50 days) by the MGT (5 days), thus obtaining 10 paddocks in addition to the one that the herd is on, for a total of 11 paddocks. This figure represents the minimum number of paddocks needed to allow plants to recover and avoid overgrazing.

¨      Return to the circle. Add 10 paddocks to the paddock already drawn, to complete the diagram. Follow the herd’s movements (with the image) from one paddock to another, until the herd returns to the first paddock, and note that the mRT of 50 days is possible with a stay of only 5 days in each paddock.


Conclude this stage of the module by doing the following :

¨      Invite participants to ask questions and make comments;

¨      Encourage them, to the extent possible, to respond to other attendees’ questions;

¨      Identify those participants who are most at ease with numbers and use those individuals in the following exercises;

¨      Finally, explain that the formula that we have tested can now be applied to any mRTs or MGTs: for example, those of plants chosen during the module on “plants to be promoted” (# 24).


4.    Application to plants that one wants to encourage


You must once again use the flip-chart, since numbers are going to be involved. You should explain to the participants that they are now going to figure out the number of paddocks corresponding to different mRTs and MGTs (modules # 25 and # 26).


¨      Have the participants designate someone to make the drawings, and have this person start by drawing a circle with a paddock in it.

¨      Then, invite participants to say which plant they want to use as an example, stating its MGT and mRT;

¨      What number should go into the parcel already drawn? (Answer: the MGT). Affix the image of the herd there, and remind participants what MGT means.

¨      What number is left? (Answer: the mRT)

¨      What should one do with this number to figure out the number of additional paddocks? Let participants do the calculations, helping them only if they are really stymied;

¨      Have the "secretary" add the number of paddocks that the group has calculated;

¨      Finally, move the image of the herd successively into the different paddocks thus created, explaining the meaning of the mRT and how the movement of livestock makes it possible to observe the resting period.


5.    Utilization of the exercise


¨      Is it necessary to limit paddocks to this minimum number?

¨      What is the advantage of having a larger number of paddocks than the minimum?

¨      What should one do if one wants to promote more than one plant in a grazing area?

¨      How should this be done during the dry season, in general?

¨      Taking the idea of “time” into consideration, is the size of the paddock also important?

¨      If the minimum recovery or resting time is relatively short, do we need to increase or decrease the number of paddocks?

¨      The resource management specialist can explain how a large number of paddocks allows the herd to find “fresh” forage more often and thus to be better nourished.


6.    Transition


Take out the icon for this module and place it next to the others. Return to the icon for the instructional unit, and note that the participants now have the principles needed to plan grazing, which is the next instructional unit in the training program. Congratulate the participants and thank them again for the work they have done.




q       If the group of participants is particularly advanced and wants to perfect its skill in calculating the number of paddocks required for various mRTs and MGTs, you can organize a mini-competition that would be conducted as follows: Ask the participants to divide themselves into two teams, each one doing the calculations for plants with different mRTs and MGTs. The task consists of determining the number of paddocks appropriate for each of these plants during the rainy and dry seasons. Equipped with sheets of paper and a felt-tip marker, the group that is first to supply the right answers is the winner.

q       If, on the other hand, the participants seem to be having trouble following steps, 2, 3 and 4, one can detail the process by adding one parcel at a time.