This case study sets out the role that local knowledge plays in conserving biodiversity and ecosystems function in semi-arid rangelands. This study describes in detail the activities of the Wodaabe nomads, who strive to promote the prosperity of their herds through pastoral mobility and labour. The labour comprises many tasks such as driving animals to graze, watering animals at wells, feeding them minerals, searching for pastures. The relationship between the herder, his red Zebu cattle and the bush land is marked on the one hand by cultural values such as the endeavour to leave the herd in good shape to his descendants and on the other hand by Sahelian economic life in which the Wodaabe work to maximise herd fertility in order to gain animal wealth for market exchange and milk for household consumption. The new perception of balance and limitations of the ecosystems and traditional pastoral knowledge as seen in this study adhere closely to the spirit of the Convention on Biological Diversity's ecosystem approach.
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