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The survival of millions of pastoral households in Eastern Africa has become increasingly at risk. Due to mounting socioeconomic and climatic stressors, pastoral households are faced with making migration decisions under increasing uncertainty about resource availability and limited coping strategies. We assess the potential of providing vegetation condition maps to support the migration decision of pastoralists in Ethiopia and Tanzania and the effect of map usage on their herd condition and size. The maps were generated from remotely sensed data using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as a proxy for vegetation condition and overlain with pastoralists’ preferred grazing areas. The use of maps for migration decisions was low in both study areas, partly due to challenges in map distribution (26% and 2% in Ethiopia at midline and endline respectively; and 35% and 29% in Tanzania at midline and endline respectively). However, map adopters in both countries reported an overwhelmingly positive experience and found maps accurate and helpful. Map usage was associated with improved animal condition in Tanzania, but we find no causal evidence that map usage affected herd size.


Citation of published version:

Elia Axinia Machado, Helene Purcell, Andrew M. Simons, Stephanie Swinehart, The Quest for Greener Pastures: Evaluating the Livelihoods Impacts of Providing Vegetation Condition Maps to Pastoralists in Eastern Africa, Ecological Economics, Volume 175, 2020.

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