This article explores the concept of resilience as outlined in a recent World Bank publication that applies the concept to rangeland areas in Africa. The paper does not attempt to speak to all of the dimensions of resilience and debates about the concept’s applications to pastoral ecology and rangelands. Instead, we utilize a panel data set from northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia that has been analysed in other published studies to reconsider it from a resilience perspective. We show how different livelihood groups in the region are impacted by climate, disease, market, conflict, and land use shocks in a time characterized by a drought phase and a recovery phase. In many cases, there are livelihood-specific impacts of these shocks, and these help explain long-term herd dynamics and pastoralist poverty traps. Our analysis then turns to different ways of measuring resilience and finds that measurements of combined income and asset thresholds provide the most convincing outcomes. We further assess some broader opportunities and innovations that have the potential to enhance resilience in the drylands. Finally, different policy relevant steps that can be taken to enhance resilience are discussed in the context of the considerable heterogeneity in livelihood strategies which occurs in African rangelands.
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