Animal husbandry – Work Package 3


Livestock plays a key role for the livelihoods of the different communities in southern Madagascar.

However, the qualitative and quantitative effects that grazing animals have on herbal biomass yield and existing biodiversity in this highly endemic region, where mobile cattle and mostly sedentary herds of small ruminants (goats and sheep) coexist, have so far not been described. 

This subproject therefore aims to study the spatial use of available pasture and water resources by local livestock herds across a regional gradient of altitude and vegetation types in the dry ecosystem of southwestern Madagascar. In particular, we will conduct an explicit quantification of forage crop selection and analyse the nutrient value of food intake, as well as excretion of cattle, goat and sheep herds. Moreover, management strategies are to be developed that help to use the available resources in a more effective and sustainable way, while cautiously improving the productivity of this highly extensive animal husbandry system.


In close cooperation with different groups of livestock keepers in the study region, this work package will address the following key questions:

  • How do local livestock herds use the available pasture and water resources, especially in consideration of seasonal aspects by the alternation of wet and dry season? Which amounts of nutrients are taken in and excreted by grazing animals, especially cattle and goats?
  • Can the productivity of economically important goat but also institutionally and socially significant cattle herds be increased in a more effective and sustainable way?
  • How does the potential grazing pressure by local livestock affect particularly valuable areas in terms of nature conservation? Is is possible to develope grazing management strategies which may help to reduce such negative impacts?


Completed thesis:

  • Euphorbia stenoclada: occurrence and use for the fodder in coastal area of south-western Madagascar, M.Sc. thesis: Frauke Ahlers (Université de Cassel)
  • Reproduction et production de biomasse d'Euphorbia stenoclada Baill. (Samata) dans le Plateau Mahafaly (Soud-Quest de Madagascar), M.Sc. thesis: Rabemirinra Herinavalona (Université d'Antanarivo)
  • Beurteilung der Verwendung von Fotofallen zur Bestimmung der Weidenutzung eines Naturschutzgebietes: Beweidungsdruck im Nationalpark Tsimanampetsotsa, B.Sc. thesis: Lisa M. Frank (University of Kassel)



Current thesis:

  • Dynamics of pastures and influence of livestock grazing across a regional gradient of altitude and vegetation types in the dry ecosystem of southwestern Madagascar, PhD thesis : Ononamandimby Antsonantenainarivony (Université d'Antanarivo)
  • High-resolution spatio-temporally dynamic model of herbivory impact in Mahafaly region, Madagascar, PhD thesis: Pascal Fust (University of Kassel)


For further information on the projects and all current projects click here: Project List





  Events & News 2016



21.4. - 30.6. (Germany)

Exibition (Hamburg, Biozentrum Grindel)
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