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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Human Ecology
Title Coping strategies in livestock-dependent households in east and southern Africa: a synthesis of four case studies
Author(s)
Volume 35
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
Page numbers 461-476
URL https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Shauna_Burnsilver/publication/225518733_Coping_Strategies_in_Li​vestock-dependent_Households_in_East_and_Southern_Africa_A_Synthesis_of_Four_Case_Studies/links/02bf​e50fcdb9c2a00d000000.pdf
Abstract
Integrated assessment seeks to combine models
of the ecological as well as the social system to allow
different scenarios to be tested in terms of their likely
impacts on ecological functioning and household wellbeing.
We outline such work undertaken in four case
studies in East and southern Africa: pastoralist communities
in northern Tanzania, agro-pastoralists in southern Kenya,
communal and commercial ranchers in South Africa, and
mixed crop-livestock farmers in western Kenya. Results
from these case studies are synthesised to test the
hypothesis that households’ capacity to adapt in the face
of increasing external stresses is governed by flexibility in
livelihood options. The results support this hypothesis.
There is considerable variation in how households in these
places cope with external stresses. Options include intensification,
diversification, and increasing off-farm economic
activities, and these depend on household objectives and
attitudes as well as on access to natural resources, inputs
and output markets. The results also indicate that generally
it is the poorer households that can gain the most from
implementing such options for coping and managing risk.
Quantifying likely household and ecosystem impacts of
different options is a crucial step in targeting appropriate
technology, policy and adaptation interventions in the face
of considerable system changes. We conclude with some
research needs to improve integrated assessment tools that
may allow us to represent more realistically the highly
complex decision-making milieu of householders in subSaharan
Africa who are dependent on ecosystem goods and
services for a large part of their livelihoods.

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