By Michael Mortimore
This publication embodies the result of 13 years of study in drought-prone rural components within the semi-arid quarter of northern Nigeria. It describes the styles of adaptive behaviour saw between Hausa, Ful'be and Manga groups according to recurrent drought within the Seventies and Nineteen Eighties. The query of desertification is explored in a space the place the seen facts of relocating sand dunes is dramatic blame are tested with regards to the sphere facts. A critique is out there of deterministic theories and authoritarian suggestions. Professor Mortimore demonstrates a parallel among the observable resilience of semi-arid ecosystems and the adaptive options of the human groups that inhabit them and indicates coverage instructions for strengthening that resilience.
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Additional info for Adapting to Drought: Farmers, Famines and Desertification in West Africa
Meroon '• 0° 1 BIOCLIMATIC ZONES | I l l l l l HYPER-ARID i" I I I ! 1 Bioclimatic zones and desertification in the subSaharan zone of northern Africa (after UNEP, 1977a) i i . • 0 i 800 i i 1600 Km | | Aridity in Northern Nigeria 9 Finally, national boundaries cut across the semi-arid zone, giving each state its unique political economy of aridity. Five major variables contribute. First is the distribution of semi-arid (and arid) territory in the national space, varying from totality (Mauritania) to a tiny segment (Cameroon).
7 The UNEP map (1977a) provides, as a second step in regionalising desertification, three classes of hazard: very high, high and moderate. 1. In attempting to take into account both physical processes (such as sand movement, sheet wash and salinisation) and pressures exerted by human and animal populations, these units are bound to be provisional in nature. They do not correspond well with the visible evidences of ecological status in northern Nigeria. It is expected that further work will improve their usefulness.
However, a thorough pursuit of historical evidence was not attempted; this calls for a separate study with adequate resources. Famine hits the poor first and hardest (Hill, 1972, 1977, 1982). Social differentiation is arguably more urgent an issue than spatial and, unlike it, cannot be shrugged off as due to rainfall variations. An appropriate methodological response would be micro-scale studies of household welfare, including intra-household transactions, and of the position of women, the young and the Method 21 aged.
Adapting to Drought: Farmers, Famines and Desertification in West Africa by Michael Mortimore