, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 340–354 | Cite as

Pastoralists in a changing environment: The competition for grazing land in and around the W Biosphere Reserve, Benin Republic

  • Charles Tamou
  • Raimon Ripoll-Bosch
  • Imke J. M. de Boer
  • Simon J. Oosting


Pastoralists face increasing competition for land with crop farmers and nature in and around the W Biosphere Reserve (WBR) in Benin. Our aim was to describe and analyse land use changes in order to understand their drivers, and to describe and analyse the viewpoints of relevant stakeholders in order to understand the competition for land. To this end, remote sensing data, regional statistics, and survey data were collected. We found that crop land expansion around the WBR was the direct driver of decrease of the grazing land area. Population growth and rising demand for food crops, and government support to the cotton sector were indirect drivers of grazing land reduction. Furthermore, competing claims on land among users arose from the complex interaction of crop expansion, presence of WBR and the way it is governed, the lack of support to pastoralists, and the increasing shift of pastoralists’ lifestyle into one of settled crop farmers. Pastoralism is under threat and its survival depends on the successful implementation of policies to support pastoralists and protect grazing lands.


Competing claims Crop production Drivers Land use change Nature conservation Pastoralism 



The research project from which this paper draws was funded by the Netherlands University Foundation for International Cooperation (NUFFIC) of the Netherlands and the Animal Production System group of Wageningen University. The authors thank Frank de Haan, Guiriguissou A. Maboudou and Rachid Saliou Toure for useful discussion, as well as three anonymous reviewers for their invaluable comments on earlier version of this manuscript. We are also grateful to Laura Webb for editing the English of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 287 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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