SAHEL IN TRANSITION – Will the re-greening provide.. (SAHEL IN TRANSITION)
SAHEL IN TRANSITION – Will the re-greening provide a way out of the poverty trap?
(SAHEL IN TRANSITION)
Start date: Feb 1, 2012,
End date: Jan 31, 2014
"After the catastrophic droughts in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, the West African Sahel now seems to experience a re-greening. Analysis of satellite data from the region illustrate an increase in landscape productivity since 1983. While returning rainfall is one reason, there are areas where productivity has increased more than what could be expected when only looking at rainfall trends. This suggests that people are managing the landscape in ways that improve its potential to generate ecosystem services. The re-greening is described as a success story where local people have been able to substantially improve their welfare. However, there is a lack of scientific evidence for these benefits. This postdoctoral project aims to 1) quantify the direct effects of a greener Sahel on local smallholders’ livelihoods, and 2) answer to what degree productive and resilient agro-ecosystems can help Sahelian smallholders escape persistent poverty. For a region that is the home to some of the world’s poorest populations and where there is a large uncertainty about the impacts of climate change, but where the current re-greening may provide a window of opportunity for changing the development trajectory, this is a critical issue. The project combines participatory field research with modeling of rainfall and household welfare dynamics, to investigate the income contribution from local ecosystem services in communities situated along a non-greened to re-greened gradient in Niger and Burkina Faso. Since the region’s challenging hydro-climate implies a risk for climate-related poverty traps, special focus will be on the influence of landscape productivity on people’s capacity to cope with drought situations without having to deplete their asset holdings. Overall the project will contribute to closing the knowledge gap on the relationship between the availability of ecosystem services and human well-being, an issue at the core of the global development challenge."
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