Download Adapting to Drought: Farmers, Famines and Desertification in by Michael Mortimore PDF

By Michael Mortimore

This e-book embodies the result of 13 years of study in drought-prone rural parts within the semi-arid sector of northern Nigeria. It describes the styles of adaptive behaviour saw between Hausa, Ful'be and Manga groups in keeping with recurrent drought within the Seventies and Eighties. The query of desertification is explored in a space the place the noticeable proof of relocating sand dunes is dramatic blame are tested when it comes to the sphere facts. A critique is available of deterministic theories and authoritarian strategies. Professor Mortimore demonstrates a parallel among the observable resilience of semi-arid ecosystems and the adaptive ideas of the human groups that inhabit them and indicates coverage instructions for strengthening that resilience.

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Extra info for Adapting to Drought: Farmers, Famines and Desertification in West Africa

Example text

Rainfall totals for the year, or for the rainy season, are misleading indicators of drought. Hydrological drought is affected by groundwater storage over periods up to several years. Agricultural and ecological drought result not only from an overall shortage of rainfall, but equally from a maladjustment of the seasonal distribution of rainfall to the growth cycle of plants. Thus when total rainfall is below the mean, excellent crops may be obtained when the distribution is satisfactory, as in 1985.

Prerequisites for the resolution of the matter must be a consensus on the definition of the concept and on measurable indicators. DESERTIFICATION: DEFINITION AND MEASUREMENT If desertification is now accepted as the most appropriate term, agreement on its exact meaning remains elusive. In a review of more than a hundred definitions taken from the literature, Glantz and Orlovsky (1983) suggest that the concept, as it is used by researchers, may mean either a process of change, or the end state of a process (or both, as implied in the term itself).

5—2 m in as few as 55 days, and produces a head of grain over a metre in length. It can be grown with only 200—50 mm of rainfall in light, sandy soils, and has a remarkable tolerance of drought in the planting period (Kowal and Kassam, 1978: 249—50). On sandy soils it may withstand over 30 days without rain, and withered plants may resuscitate even later. On heavier soils it is more vulnerable. This crop is the major staple throughout the West African semi-arid zone. There is also a late-maturing variety of bulrush millet (H maiwa) whose importance is steadily diminishing.

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