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By Michael Mortimore

This publication embodies the result of 13 years of analysis in drought-prone rural components within the semi-arid area of northern Nigeria. It describes the styles of adaptive behaviour saw between Hausa, Ful'be and Manga groups based on recurrent drought within the Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen 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 sector proof. A critique is obtainable of deterministic theories and authoritarian suggestions. Professor Mortimore demonstrates a parallel among the observable resilience of semi-arid ecosystems and the adaptive thoughts 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

Sample text

Alluvial soils, sands and valleys are cultivated intensively; in the dry season winds carry away clouds of dust. In the thorn steppes, whose disappearance marks the beginning of the desert, the shrubs become more and more spaced out, no longer reproducing; the rains have ceased or appear only very irregularly, the winds that bring the summer rain are no longer humid enough. Elsewhere broad-leaved trees dry up one by one and die; they are not replaced by young individuals but, instead, thorn trees gather as if favoured by a dry season that has become longer and more arid...

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. A third step, not yet attempted, needs to differentiate amongst production systems, and take into account the relations between farming and pastoral systems.

Its southern boundary has an upper limit of 1,270 mm (that is, rainfall may be expected to 4°E 5° 1 - 1 1 1 1 1 11° 12° 13° 1 1 i 1 - —>* B [ 13° *\ 4 S' \ 'N. 2 The Dry Zone of northern Nigeria i i / 1 i 1270mm upper 9 : 1 confidence limit 140 days rainy period 12° j • Bauchi \ j- «—* —i ^^-^T. •Yelwa \ Km 40 O I i i i I 40 I I I I 200 Km I 10° Drought 11 exceed this amount one year in ten), and a lower one of 760 mm. This boundary crosses Nigeria from Lat. 12°N on the western frontier to Lat.

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