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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

An institutional analysis of pastoralists’ adaptation to climate Uncertainty in Ethiopia: Inter-linking marketization and rangeland governance

Misginaw Tamirat Arficho is a doctoral researcher at the Guest Professorship Environmental Governance at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and a member of the THESys Graduate Program. His research focuses on Nexus of Institutions of Range Governance and Markets, Culture, Multi-level Modelling (governance), and Adapting to Climate Uncertainty in Ethiopian Pastoral Areas.

Guji migrant pastoralist hut at Borana Plain, Ethiopia, @nationalparks-worldwide.info

Photo: Guji migrant pastoralist hut at Borana Plain, Ethiopia

Sustainable Rangeland governance is a challenge because of existence of multiple levels and complex interactions among actors, resource and governance system.  It will even be more complex in the pastoral system where there exists a different biophysical and social environment, a dynamics in administrative system and political boundaries, change in land use pattern and the policies that influence migration, which close off potential important adaptive responses. Further, livelihood adaptation strategies and the way they relate to cultural values are rarely known. This doctoral thesis seeks to understand how the nexus of institutions of stock size, rangeland management and marketization function in regard to adaptation to impacts of climate uncertainty in Pastoral Communities of Borena, Hadiya and Hammer in Ethiopia.


The overall research question is:

  1. What are structural and ecological factors contributing to vulnerability of indigenous pastoralist communities to climate uncertainty? Why do pastoralists prefer some/portfolio of adaptation strategy (ies) over the other(s)?  
  2. What patterns of interactions and outcomes (overuse, conflict, collapse, stability) are likely to result from using one set of rules for the governance and use of rangelands under uncertainty? 
  3. What is the likely endogenous development of different forms of governance, rules, use pattern and the outcome in range condition? Does sustainable range use require institutions imposed from outside or evolve from within in this type of setting?
  4. What kinds of governance structures and processes can effectively address the challenges of multi-level range governance in these pastoral communities?
  5. How does governance of rangelands relate to different arrangements of markets in optimizing the stocking density? The research is mainly informed and builds on various theories of the New Institutional Economics. The Mixed Methods Approach from empirical qualitative and quantitative analyses will generate a systemic understanding of the nexus of institutions stocking density, range governance and marketization, as well as efficiency institutions of sustainable outcomes in the study area.

Misginaw studied MSc in Agricultural Economics and holds B.A. in Economics from the Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia and also in Value Chain Management from CAH Dronten and Stoas Hogschols in the Netherlands. He served in Jimma University as a Lecturer and Researcher in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.  His study is supported Jameel Yousuf scholarship.


Misginaw Tamirat Arficho


Misginaw Tamirat Arficho, Doctoral Researcher
THESys Graduate Program
Phone: +49 30 2093 46499
E-mail: arfichom@hu-berlin.de