Namibia is the most arid African country south of the Sahel and considered very vulnerable to climate change. Because of the aridity, intensive plant production is limited and animal production is instead the prominent land use reliant on Namibia’s vast rain-fed rangelands. The productivity of Namibia’s rangelands varies considerably over time and space in response to erratic rainfall patterns, as well as differences in rangeland potential and its local condition. This variability poses severe challenges to land managers. Indecision or inappropriate decisions may culminate in animal losses or lost production, missed marketing opportunities and the degradation of rangelands.
To counter this, early warning systems are designed to provide land managers and policy makers with timely and quantitative information about the extent and severity of developing drought conditions and warning of imminent forage shortages. Hopefully such information will provide lead time, resulting in appropriate action before opportunities are lost and natural resources degraded.