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Pastoralism and agriculture: keeping the peace in a national park buffer zone

Recognizing that surrounding pastoralist communities would be cut off from the land they used for their animals once their access to the Kaboré Tambi National Park in southern Burkina Faso was restricted in 1997, the government decided to set aside a buffer zone outside the park boundary in which the pastoralists could settle, and on which they could graze their livestock. This gave rise to Tamsé, a village community of pastoralists in the buffer zone, benefiting from the land set aside next to the park. However, during the dry season, there is not enough water for the cattle in the buffer zone. The national park, however, overlays much of the watershed of the Nazinon River, which is a rare year-round source of surface water in the area. This means that the pastoralists sometimes have no choice but to take their cattle into the park to find water. For this they are fined, as they are when any of their animals stray into the fields of adjacent agricultural communities. And so, as Arba Sondé tells us, there is a need to clearly delineate pastoralist grazing land and fields of neighbouring farming communities to prevent conflicts in the area.

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