Threshing of recently harvested millet in northern Burkina Faso. Photo: H. Sinare
Ecosystem services, livelihoods and resilience in Sahel
Here we sum up our insights on from our work on adaptation, innovation and the regreening of the Sahel region
Insights on ecosystem services, livelihoods and resilience are of particular importance in the Sahel region. This is a region where poverty is widespread and people depend strongly on the local landscape, primarily through rainfed agriculture and pastoralism. At the same time rainfall is low and highly variable with recurrent droughts.
Predictions for future climate change in the region are uncertain, and there are indications of a shorter rainy season and more intense rainfall events, making agriculture vulnerable. This makes the Sahel an important region for development interventions, often related to agriculture.
Research on where interventions suit best and how they should be designed is of key importance. This needs to be embedded in an understanding of the complexity and dynamics in people’s dependence on landscapes at different scales.
Here we sum up some of our insights from different projects:
1. Trees and shrubs are crucial for ecosystem services in Sahelian agricultural and pastoral landscapes, and they are integrated parts of the agricultural landscape
Densities of trees and shrubs have increased since severe droughts in the 1970s and 1980s, and management by local farmers has been important for this increase. However, the species composition in the landscape has changed, with a risk of ecosystem services losses.
2. Landscapes in the Sahel are multifunctional and provide multiple benefits for livelihoods
This must be considered in development interventions that can otherwise cause trade-offs. Local knowledge and priorities must therefore be included in designing interventions and methods to assess ecosystem services need to be developed to account for these benefits.
3. The institutional context is of key importance for improved management practices
Leadership at village level and decentralized control of natural resources management has been identified as key factors for improved management practices, for example for farmers to keep trees on their fields.
Research news | 2022-08-12
What it takes to make different approaches work together
Researchers invite readers “behind the scenes” to share their experiences combining agent-based modelling and controlled behavioural experiments
Research news | 2022-08-11
Adding the technological to the social-ecological
Researchers make the case for a more systematic way of thinking when designing urban, nature-based solutions
Research news | 2022-08-05
Not only clear-cuts, but even forest degradation drives CO2 emissions
Further degradation of the Amazon rainforest can lead to enormous C02 emissions in the upcoming decades, unless it is halted soon, new study finds
Research news | 2022-08-04
Growing tree cover can boost or dwindle water availability
Tree restoration is a great way to mitigate climate change and store atmospheric carbon. But when trees are planted at a large scale, regional water availability can be seriously affected
Research news | 2022-07-05
New exhibition at Skansen open-air museum features inputs from centre
Last week, Skansen, an open-air museum in Stockholm, launched the first part of an exhibition about biodiversity with contributions by the Stockholm Resilience Centre
Research news | 2022-07-01
Human actions drastically alter river flows
Diminishing water flows may jeopardize the lives of millions of people that depend on the rivers for food production, energy or sanitation