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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/3785

Title: Human response and adaptation to drought in the arid zone: lessons from southern Africa
Authors: O'Farrell, PJ
Anderson, PML
Milton, SJ
Dean, WRJ
Keywords: Transhumance
Drought endurance
Climate change
Sustainable agriculture
Environmental sustainability
Issue Date: Jan-2009
Publisher: Academy of Science of South Africa
Citation: O'Farrell, PJ, Anderson, PML, Milton, SJ and Dean, WRJ. 2009. Human response and adaptation to drought in the arid zone: lessons from southern Africa. South African Journal of Science, Vol. 105, pp 34-39
Abstract: Human adaptation and response to drought is primarily through evasion or endurance. A review of historical agricultural practices in southern Africa demonstrates evidence of drought evasion response strategies in well-established transhumance routes, where herders move livestock on a seasonal basis in order to exploit resources subject to different climatic regimes. European settlers to the arid regions of South Africa quickly recognised the necessity of these evasion options to survive drought, and adopted the transhumance practices of indigenous farmers. Areas of geographically diverse resource bases became hotly contested by settlers and indigenous farmers. The success of evasion systems are shown to hinge on good social and institutional support structures. Climate change predictions suggest an increase in drought, suggesting that the adoption of mitigating strategies should be a matter of urgency. To do this South Africa needs to build social and institutional capacity, strive for better economic and environmental sustainability, embed drought-coping mechanisms into land restitution policy to ensure the success of this programme, and acknowledge the diversity of the agricultural sector.
Description: Copyright: 2009 Academy of Science of South Africa
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/3785
ISSN: 0038-2353
Appears in Collections:Sustainability science
Environmental management
Climate change
Ecosystems processes & dynamics
General science, engineering & technology

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