Reducing conflicts between grazing and forest conservation in dry areas


Herders in low- and middle-income countries heavily rely on grazing to feed their livestock. However, conservation efforts from national and international institutions have often led to a complete grazing exclusion from protected forests, heavily impacting herders’ livelihoods and generating conflicts between national authorities and local communities. Where regulations are disregarded, grazing becomes uncontrolled and leads to heavy land degradation, with important negative effects on the water cycle, biodiversity and carbon sequestration. However, sustainable forest management and pastoral activities can be compatible if grazing intensity is regulated and adaptive, management plans are designed with the support of the local community. Specific research is needed to understand the impacts of grazing in relation to different forest types, landscapes and production strategies.


This project aims at creating methods to assess and monitor the impact of grazing in forest landscapes and to develop tools that allow farmers and forest managers to assess the state of their land and to support the implementation of sustainable grazing plans.

Expected Benefits

Target country: Use of productive land by a marginalized, poor sector of the population while ensuring the well-being of semi-arid forests that provide numerous on- and off-site benefits, including the mitigation of climate change and regulation of the water cycle. Furthermore, the project could help reducing regional conflicts in rural areas and mitigating rural outmigration due to the degradation of natural resources that local populations rely on.

Contact Information

Matteo Jucker Riva,, phone:

Bern University of Applied Sciences: School of Agriculture, Forest and Food Sciences, HAFL

Reducing conflicts between grazing and forest conservation
Reducing conflicts between grazing and forest conservation

Partner countries: Semi-arid low- and middle-income countries such as in southern and East Africa, the Middle East, southern Mediterranean countries and Central Asia.

Research Partners: ICARDA, CIFOR, FAO, local associations in target countries, local universities, local authorities (e.g. ministries for natural resources, etc.)

Cost: CHF 3 Mio

Duration: 6 years