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.
Hanna Sinare is a postdoctoral researcher on social-ecological systems, ecosystem services, and development in the West African Sahell.
News & events
Research news | 2023-06-02
More freshwater experts needed in the IPBES biodiversity panel
Centre researcher Jan Kuiper lists why and how more freshwater experts could contribute to the Intergovernmental Science–Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
General news | 2023-06-01
Centre researcher Juan Rocha elected into Young Academy of Sweden
Centre researcher Juan Rocha joins the Young Academy of Sweden, a junior version of the prestigious Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, for a five-year term
Research news | 2023-05-31
Groundbreaking study quantifies safe and just Earth system boundaries
International commission proposes new safe and just boundaries for maintaining a healthy planet and protecting people from significant harm
Research news | 2023-05-25
AI could create a perfect storm of climate misinformation
The speed and the way misinformation about climate change and sustainability issues moves around the world is rapidly changing. Now, the Centre presents a new synthesis on AI and climate misinformation in connection to the Nobel Prize Summit 2023, "Truth, Trust and Hope"
Research news | 2023-05-22
Financial actors and academia join forces to build back biodiversity
Today is International Biodiversity Day! This year with the theme “From agreement to action: build back biodiversity”, and for us, that is a good reason to highlight the potential of the finance sector in reviving biodiversity
General news | 2023-05-17
Maria Tengö appointed special professor at Wageningen University
Maria Tengö is the most recently appointed professor at the Stockholm Resilience Centre