Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Building resilience to climate change in Niger

Environmental Expert.com, via World Resources Institute: Climate change poses a major threat to the world’s 2 billion rural poor, but sustainable natural resource management can help developing countries like Niger adapt to the threat. Droughts and desertification associated with climate change will hit Africa hard. ....In Niger, the Sahara desert has been moving further south into the country’s semi-arid Sahel region, overtaking farm plots and displacing Niger’s rapidly growing population. Rakia, a 35-year-old mother from the region, said of the worsening conditions: “In the past there was water in the watering hole for six or seven months, but now the watering hole is not enough.”

Many of Niger’s citizens–60 percent of whom live on less on less than $1 a day—will face similar challenges as they struggle to grow crops in the Sahel’s sandy, nutrient poor soils, made less productive by the increasingly scarce and erratic rainfall predicted under changing climate.

But in the face of overwhelming adversity, Niger has experienced an unprecedented, farmer-led “re-greening” movement that has reversed desertification and brought increased crop production, income, food security, and self-reliance to impoverished rural producers. (Read the full World Resources Report 2008 case study on Niger (PDF, 2.3 Mb).)

Along with other soil and water conservation programs, the key vehicle for this remarkable transformation was farmer-managed natural regeneration, or FMNR–the adoption of simple, low-cost techniques for managing the natural regeneration of trees and shrubs....

Topographical map of Niger by Sadalmelik, who has generously released it into the public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Thank you, Sadalmelik

1 comment:

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