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Linking Landscapes and Livelihoods: Ecosystem services as a lens in Sudano-Sahelian West Africa
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Integrated landscape approaches are increasingly called for to reconcile multiple objectives from the perspectives of agriculture, forestry, poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation. Sudano-Sahelian West Africa with low agricultural productivity and widespread poverty is a hotspot for these issues and has attracted international interest in interventions to improve livelihoods. However, integrated knowledge on links between landscapes and livelihoods is scarce. This thesis examines the landscape-livelihoods link using ecosystem services as a lens. In the conceptual framing of the thesis, ecosystem services are seen as co-produced in social-ecological landscapes where ecosystem services and their contribution to livelihoods are defined both by social and biophysical processes. The thesis includes two papers addressing parts of the conceptual framework. Paper I synthesises knowledge of how woody vegetation as a landscape component contributes to ecosystem services. It addresses the status of current scientific knowledge from the entire West African Sudano-Sahel. Through a systematic literature review the paper found that knowledge on ecosystem services from woody vegetation is scattered among several different scientific fields, with little previous attempts at synthesising this knowledge. Woody vegetation provides multiple services, but the effect of woody vegetation on crop yield show diverging results. Studies of landscape effects of woody vegetation are largely lacking. Paper II is based on field data from six villages in northern Burkina Faso. The paper identifies social-ecological landscape types present in the villages and the contribution of each landscape type to groups of provisioning ecosystem services and their benefits to livelihoods. Landscapes are shown to be multifunctional, where all landscape types except bare soil contribute to multiple benefit groups, and no benefit group is generated in only one landscape type. The local landscape plays an important role to compensate for cereal loss when crops fail, where most of the contribution is sold to generate income. Livestock has an important insurance function, as it is the main contributor to income when crops fail. This insurance function is important to include in analyses of interventions and management change, as loss of this function can decrease local people’s resilience to droughts in a region with highly variable rainfall.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University , 2013.
Keyword [en]
ecosystem services, landscapes, livelihoods, agroforestry, Sudano-Sahel, West Africa
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-96229ISBN: 978-91-7447-816-7OAI: diva2:664549
2013-12-06, room 312, Kräftriket 2B, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2013-11-15 Created: 2013-11-15 Last updated: 2014-10-16Bibliographically approved

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