Mobility and Sustainability: A Computational Model of African Pastoralists

Takuto Sakamoto


This article offers a simple computational model of mobile pastoralists. Employing an agent-based modeling (ABM) approach, the model explicitly simulates the movement patterns of pastoralists and computes the resultant natural resource access for a landscape that shows the typically unpredictable dynamics of African rangeland ecology. Extensive simulations reveal a striking level of efficiency in the exploitation of resource endowments that mobile pastoralists can achieve in otherwise inhospitable environments. The simulations also illuminate the serious welfare consequences of the disruption of pastoral mobility under tight land constraints. These quantitative results are consistent with the rich qualitative evidence from the empirical literature on African pastoralism. Moreover, the article reports on several sets of ‘policy experiments’ that evaluate the effect of rangeland interventions on the mobility and livelihoods of pastoralists. These endeavors will pave the way for empirically richer and more policy-relevant analyses of dryland pastoralism.

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Journal of Management and Sustainability   ISSN 1925-4725 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4733 (Online)


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