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 | 2022-05-16
The effects of less, but better meat production
Study captures the real-world experiences and effects of a farm’s journey towards sustainability
Research news | 2022-05-14
Our engagements during Stockholm +50
When and where to find us during the international environmental meeting in Stockholm 2-3 June
Research news | 2022-05-10
Centre joins SEK 45 million landscape programme
LAND-PATHS programme will engage with ordinary citizens to develop more sustainable and integrated decision-making processes
Research news | 2022-05-09
Three ways games can break sustainability deadlocks
Played by the right people, strategy games can break free from established norms and support more transparent democratic dialogues
Research news | 2022-05-04
What will it take to save the human ocean?
Seminar on ocean sustainability highlights importance of urgent and collaborative stewardship of the big blue
Research news | 2022-05-02
Why seafood certification is still not big in Japan
New study investigates the barriers and bridges to sustainability certifications on the Japanese seafood market