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The Production of Contested Landscapes: Enclosing the Commons in the Sahel

Snorek, Julie and Moser, Linda and Renaud, Fabrice (2014) The Production of Contested Landscapes: Enclosing the Commons in the Sahel. Global Water Systems Project (GWSP) Conference: "Sustainability in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus. Synergies and Tradeoffs: Governance and Tools at various Scales", 19.-20. Mai 2014, Bonn, Deutschland.

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In the Sahel, land degradation is caused primarily by agriculture and overgrazing, and is exacerbated by high rates of rainfall variability. Access to ecosystem services provided by soil, water, and forests can shift between user groups (pastoralists and agriculturalists) based on how insti¬tutions manage land. Land use change, promoted by the greater frequency of drought events in the dryland systems of the Sahel, such as conversion of pasture to cultivated land has the tendency to further degrade soil, increase runoff, and create conflict with users who rely on pastoral resources. While regenerative methods such as planting nitrogen-fixing trees in degraded areas has promoted what some have called the “greening” of the Sahel, such change is not widespread and does not necessarily resolve land use conflicts. Using remote sensing methods for change detection and time series analysis, as well as qualitative analysis of environmental histories, this article eva¬luates the inequities of current changes to ecosystem services in multiple rainfall zones in Niger, evaluated for both pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods. The case study focuses on Tahoua, Niger using a mixed method approach. Remote sensing high-resolution images such as Quickbird-2, WorldView-2 and RapidEye allow for the detection of adaptation and changes to specific ecosystem services (enclosures in pastoral areas or around seasonal lakes). The temporal develop¬ment in these regions was then analyzed for a period of 14 (2000 – 2013) years using time series from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Satellite images demonstrate the detection of changes to ecosystem services, like the increase of gardening, the presence/absence of fences, or the dynamics of seasonal lakes. In the same spatial region, we chose three villages in the different rainfall zones and performed 117 qualitative and expert interviews to assess the changes to ecosystem services for users within both rain-fed agricultu¬ral and pastoral systems. Results over a 14-year timescale show that cultivation is spreading even in the highly contested, government-designated ‘pastoral zone.’ Moreover, irrigated agriculture has grown significantly around ephemeral lakes in the same timescale. Most users perceive that the benefits supplied by ecosystems in the Sahel are waning as a result of multiple forces. The dominant perception is that degradation of soil and pastoral re¬sources is promoted by cultivation. These ‘divergent’ adaptations are supported by inequitable or corrupt institutional practi¬ces, which are shifting the entitlements to water-based shared ecosystem services and enabling dominant groups to enclose and cultivate such areas. Understanding and evaluating changes to ecosystem services using this combined method of remote sensing and qualitative research can support and promote sustainable ecosystem management, especially in the context of climate variability.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/99998/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:The Production of Contested Landscapes: Enclosing the Commons in the Sahel
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Moser, LindaLinda.Moser (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:May 2014
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:ecosystem services, Sahel, adaptation, pastoralist, remote sensing, conflict
Event Title:Global Water Systems Project (GWSP) Conference: "Sustainability in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus. Synergies and Tradeoffs: Governance and Tools at various Scales"
Event Location:Bonn, Deutschland
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:19.-20. Mai 2014
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Zivile Kriseninformation und Georisiken (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:German Remote Sensing Data Center > Geo Risks and Civil Security
Deposited By: Moser, Linda
Deposited On:03 Dec 2015 11:31
Last Modified:10 May 2016 23:36

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