Lambin, Eric2; D'haen, Sarah Ann Lise5; Mertz, Ole6; Nielsen, Jonas Østergaard4; Rasmussen, Kjeld6
1 Geography, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research, Earth and Life Institute, Université Catholique de Louvain3 Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet4 Humboldt Universität zu Berlin5 Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet6 Geography, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet
In an attempt to anticipate possible futures of drylands of West Africa in the face of rapid socio-economic and environmental changes, we developed four scenarios based on recent survey data, the literature and our knowledge of the region. The four scenarios are inspired by those developed by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: (1) ‘downward spiral’ characterized by rapid climate change, expansion of agriculture and chaotic urban growth; (2) ‘integrated economy’ with integrated land management, food production for local markets and rural–urban exchanges; (3) ‘open doors’ characterized by large-scale out-migrations, land grabbing by foreign companies and development aid and (4) ‘climate change mitigation’ with an increase in biofuel crops, land management for carbon capture and development of off-farm activities. We conclude that the Sahel region is most likely moving away from being a highly climate-dependent region based on agriculture towards a more open and diversified economy. West African countries have to find a balance between the new opportunities and risks created by economic globalization.
Geografisk Tidsskrift/danish Journal of Geography, 2014, Vol 114, Issue 1, p. 76-83