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Sustainable land management technologies: agro-pastoralism



Agro-pastoralism is the integration of crop production and livestock production, and is practiced amongst settled, nomadic, and transhumant communities. The type of livestock kept by agro-pastoralists varies according to culture, climate, environment, natural resource availability, and geographical area, and includes cattle, camels, goats, sheep, yaks, horses, llamas, alpacas, reindeer and vicunas.


According to the report on sustainable land management (SLM) by the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface (SPI), agro-pastoralism is a climate change mitigation option. Depending on land suitability, stocking density, and other factors, it has the potential to improve productivity, reduce soil erosion, and improve nutrient and water use efficiency. Agro-pastoralism could also indirectly enhance resilience and land-based climate change mitigation by reducing grazing pressures elsewhere.

Examples of SLM best practices in agro-pastoralism

Below are examples of best practices in agro-pastoralism cited in the report on SLM by the SPI.

Animal Draft Zero-Tillage

Animal draft zero-till involves the use of an animal-drawn mechanical planter to plant directly in un-tilled soil to minimize soil disturbance and leave a cover of crop residues to conserve the soil and water. The protective soil cover reduces evaporation and enhances infiltration while the improved soil structure and organic matter content increases soil water storage making zero tillage an important drought mitigating strategy.

Orchard with integrated grazing and fodder production

This silvo-pastoral system serves multiple purposes: it increases land productivity with the establishment of fruit trees, supports land conservation by limiting livestock to certain areas, reduces water runoff, and improved soil moisture and water retention (especially in areas on high slopes.

The integrated orchard with pastureland and fodder production is partially fenced to hinder livestock grazing.  Trees are regularly pruned, while the pasture serves as feed for the livestock, with any remaining grass used as cut-and-carry fodder.


Read about other SLM technology groups


vegetation management

water management

grazing pressure management

animal waste management

sustainable forest management

reducing deforestation


forest restoration


minimum soil disturbance

soil erosion control fire pest and diseases control



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