Farmers in the Sahel have always been facing climatic variability at intra- and inter-annual and decadal time scales. While coping and adaptation strategies have traditionally included crop diversification, mobility, livelihood diversification, and migration, singling out climate as a direct driver of changes is not so simple. Using focus group interviews and a household survey, this study analyzes the perceptions of climate change and the strategies for coping and adaptation by sedentary farmers in the savanna zone of central Senegal. Households are aware of climate variability and identify wind and occasional excess rainfall as the most destructive climate factors. Households attribute poor livestock health, reduced crop yields and a range of other problems to climate factors, especially wind. However, when questions on land use and livelihood change are not asked directly in a climate context, households and groups assign economic, political, and social rather than climate factors as the main reasons for change. It is concluded that the communities studied have a high awareness of climate issues, but climatic narratives are likely to influence responses when questions mention climate. Change in land use and livelihood strategies is driven by adaptation to a range of factors of which climate appears not to be the most important. Implications for policy-making on agricultural and economic development will be to focus on providing flexible options rather than specific solutions to uncertain climate.
Feeding nine to ten billion people by 2050 and preventing dangerous climate change are two of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Both challenges must be met whilst reducing the impact of land management on ecosystem services that deliver vital goods and services, and support human health and well-being. Few studies to date have considered the interactions between these challenges. In this study we briefly, outline the challenges, review the supplyand demand-side climate mitigation potential available in the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFLOU) sector, and options for delivering food security. We briefly outline some of the synergies and trade-offs afforded by mitigation practices, before presenting an assessment of the mitigation potential possible in the AFOLU sector under possible future scenarios in which demand-side measures co-delivery to aid food security.We conclude that whilst supply-side mitigation measures, such as changes in land management, might either enhance or negatively impact food security, demand-side mitigation measures, such as reduced waste or demand for livestock products, should benefit both food security and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation. Demand-side measures offer a greater potential (1.5-15.6 Gt CO 2 -eq. yr -1 ) in meeting both challenges than do supply-side measures (1.5-4.3 Gt CO 2 -eq. yr -1 at carbon prices between 20 and 100 US$ tCO 2 -eq.given the enormity of challenges, all options need to be considered. Supply-side measures should be implemented immediately, focussing on those that allow the production of more agricultural product per unit of input. For demand-side measures, given the difficulties in their implementation and lag in their effectiveness, policy should be introduced quickly, and should aim to co-deliver to other policy agendas, such as improving environmental quality, or
The African continent is facing one of the driest periods in the past three decades as well as continued deforestation. These disturbances threaten vegetation carbon (C) stocks and highlight the need for improved capabilities of monitoring large-scale aboveground carbon stock dynamics. Here we use a satellite dataset based on vegetation optical depth derived from low-frequency passive microwaves (L-VOD) to quantify annual aboveground biomass-carbon changes in sub-Saharan Africa between 2010 and 2016. L-VOD is shown not to saturate over densely vegetated areas. The overall net change in drylands (53% of the land area) was -0.05 petagrams of C per year (Pg C yr) associated with drying trends, and a net change of -0.02 Pg C yr was observed in humid areas. These trends reflect a high inter-annual variability with a very dry year in 2015 (net change, -0.69 Pg C) with about half of the gross losses occurring in drylands. This study demonstrates, first, the applicability of L-VOD to monitor the dynamics of carbon loss and gain due to weather variations, and second, the importance of the highly dynamic and vulnerable carbon pool of dryland savannahs for the global carbon balance, despite the relatively low carbon stock per unit area.
Monitoring long-term biomass dynamics in drylands is of great importance for many environmental applications including land degradation and global carbon cycle modeling. Biomass has extensively been estimated based on the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) as a measure of the vegetation greenness. The vegetation optical depth (VOD) derived from satellite passive microwave observations is mainly sensitive to the water content in total aboveground vegetation layer. VOD therefore provides a complementary data source to NDVI for monitoring biomass dynamics in drylands, yet further evaluations based on ground measurements are needed for an improved understanding of the potential advantages. In this study, we assess the capability of a long-term VOD dataset (1992)(1993)(1994)(1995)(1996)(1997)(1998)(1999)(2000)(2001)(2002)(2003)(2004)(2005)(2006)(2007)(2008)(2009)(2010)(2011) to capture the temporal and spatial variability of in situ measured green biomass (herbaceous mass and woody plant foliage mass) in the semi-arid Senegalese Sahel. Results show that the magnitude and peak time of VOD are sensitive to the woody plant foliage whereas NDVI seasonality is primarily governed by the green herbaceous vegetation stratum in the study area. Moreover, VOD is found to be more robust against typical NDVI drawbacks of saturation effect and dependence on plant structure (herbaceous and woody compositions) across the study area when used as a proxy for vegetation productivity. Finally, both VOD and NDVI well reflect the spatial and inter-annual dynamics of the in situ green biomass data; however, the seasonal metrics showing the highest degree of explained variance differ between the two data sources. While the observations in October (period of in situ data collection) perform best for VOD (r 2 = 0.88), the small growing season integral (sensitive to recurrent vegetation) have the highest correlations for NDVI (r 2 = 0.90). Overall, in spite of the coarse resolution, the study shows that VOD is an efficient proxy for estimating green biomass of the entire vegetation stratum in the semi-arid Sahel and likely also in other dryland areas.
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