Women?s role in use and management of rangeland resources in semi-arid mountains: A case study from Karak District, north Pakistan (2006)

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Mountains occupy almost 60% of the area of Pakistan, with over 90% of them lying in arid to semi-arid regions. Agricultural land is limited either because of aridity or relief. Hence rangeland is the most widely-used land type in Pakistan. In spite of its great importance to the economy, rangeland management has largely remained neglected in the region. This is partially due to a lack of coordination and of clearly demarcated areas of responsibility between communities and line agencies. However, an even greater problem is the lack of knowledge, research and technical expertise needed for rational use and management of these resources. Often decisions are made about natural resources without any input from women, who have an intimate knowledge, relationship and vested interest in the land and environment around them. The main objective of this paper was to develop methodology for collecting information about the users of these resources and to provide baseline data for future research. A case study was conducted in mountainous northwest Pakistan to find the key factors responsible for the higher dependency of women on rangeland products and their role in use and management of this resource. Primary data about the users was collected though questionnaires with added interviews. Information collected about the uses, management strategies, present status of resources and changes that have occurred during the recent past was cross-checked by group discussion with the elders of the study area. Results indicate that the low socio-economic status of women is one of the major factors in their high dependency on rangeland resources. Many of these resources have declined in quality and quantity in the study area, though some species have reappeared after a long absence, due to limited use following the availability of alternatives. Women generate considerable cash income from these resources. It can be concluded that one of the keys to sustainable development and natural resource management in rangelands is to integrate these marginalised women into the formal economy. This can only be done if they are provided with alternate employment opportunities through skill development programmes and micro-financing. Moreover, their local knowledge can also be integrated as a resource in conservation planning processes.’
Year: 2006
Language: English
In: Sustainable Sloping Lands and Watershed Management Conference 12-15 December 2006 Luang Prabang, Lao PDR (http://www.nafri.org.la/documents/SSLWM/SSLWMpapers/chapter5/ch5_04_iffat.pdf),