Management of forage resources and fires in extensive cattle breeding in natural savannahs

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Context and objectives

The study has been realised in the framework of collaboration between a private partner, "Company Jules VAN LANCKER and scientific partners represented by the Agricultural Research Centre of Gembloux promoter of the study, and the Catholic University of Louvain Department of Geography. The project whose feasibility has been studied entered in the thematic axis " durable development of tropical countries ". It addresses all particularly to the theme " natural Resources " envisaged here under the angle of a durable management of spaces used for purposes of cattle breeding and the limitation of the natural course degradation in natural savannahs of the humid tropical zone. It concerns the feasibility of an approach integrating the satellite imagery to a Geographic Information System in view to characterise the evolution of the vegetation cover. To create a usable tool, it is indispensable to relate data provided by IS to terrain realities. The availability of these two factors in Africa over a period relatively long is quasi non-existent apart precisely in the particular case of the Kolo and Mushie ranches, property of the JVL and established since several decades in Congo. More specifically, the characterisation of the evolution of the vegetation cover has been posed in terms of impact of fires and animal carriage on the evolution of the vegetation of these ranches.

Project outcome

Expected scientific results

In look of the initial proposal, the information relative to fires of savannah will not be able to be directly integrated, due to problems of resolution in look of the burnt space size and due to the operational difficulty to obtain clear images in quasi real times. In the optic of a system aiming to quantify and control the degradation of the natural vegetation potential that does not hinder however in anything the general step. Following the inventory of the satellite Imagery available and descriptive and historical data of the two ranches, after having studied the different existent technical constraints, one can reasonably conclude to the interest and to the feasibility of a pilot action that would integrate the IS and data of management of a territory of breeding in view to characterise the evolution of the vegetation cover.
In the course of the study it appeared that the recourse to the IS could contribute to provide 2 types of important information that classical terrain methods can not validly bring for great areas:- the location of the degradation by IS at high spatial resolution SPOT in view of the distribution of the factor of degradation Fd adapted in a calculation of animal stocking rate - the drawn to a detailed scale of an estimation of the available biomass ( seasonal primary productivity Pi and factor of current utilisation Fu) by IS at high temporal resolution AVHRR recently launched VEGETATION satellite this step being driven so to the plan of the historical evolution of the indication of vegetation that on that its current state.

The study stress also evidence on the novelising interest that could have a pilot action conducted in partnership with an enterprise practising the cattle breeding in savannah and international consultancy in the area.
Location: Region:
  • Democratic Republic of Congo

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