Sub-theme 9. Conservation, environmental justice and the commons
Climate and Land Use Changes in Murehwa District: Trends and Implications for Forests Ecosystems
Climate change is causing major problems to human and ecological systems globally. The consequences of climate change (rainfall variability and droughts) are disrupting rural livelihoods. In response, humans are engaging in forest-depleting livelihood strategies, which are further contributing to degradation of climate proofing ecosystems including forests. The aim of the study was to establish climate change induced land cover changes and the resulting settlement patterns through participatory mapping from 1990 to 2021. The study intended to bring new dimensions to land use management and the importance of creating sustainable agricultural systems and settlement patterns. Participatory mapping was used because it allows local people to visually describe and explain changes in land use and land cover. The study was done with smallholder farmers from Wards 26, 27 and 28 of Murehwa District in Zimbabwe with a series of workshops. Observed changes include increase in gardening, agricultural and settlement expansion, all resulting in forest cover loss. In trying to self-insure against the failure of rain fed agriculture, farmers expand fields encroaching into forests, create settlements and gardens in forests along rivers and in wetlands. This is coupled with population increase, high forest dependency and economic depression. For harmonious integration of human and ecological systems, there may be need for promotion of sustainable agricultural intensification pathways such as agroforestry. Awareness on the importance of wetlands could save them from further degradation and improved settlement planning which prioritises restoring current forests may be a basis for improving human and ecological systems.
1. Climate and Land Use Changes in Murehwa District: Trends and Implications for Forests Ecosystems
1University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, 2CIRAD, France
The consequences of climate change in terms of rainfall variability and droughts are disrupting rural livelihoods. In response, humans are engaging in forest-depleting livelihood strategies. The aim of the study was to establish various climate change induced land use changes through participatory mapping from 1990 to 2021. The study intended to bring new dimensions to land use management and the importance of creating sustainable agricultural systems and settlement patterns. Participatory mapping was used specifically because it allows local people to visually describe and explain observed changes in land use. The study was done with smallholder farmers from Wards 26, 27 and 28 of Murehwa District in April 2021 with a series of workshops. Observed changes include increase in gardening, agricultural and settlement expansion. Results show that climate impacts mainly explain the observed land use changes. In trying to self-insure against the failure of rain fed agriculture, farmers expand fields encroaching into forests, create settlements and gardens in forests along rivers and in wetlands. Although not directly linked to climate change, population increase, high forest dependency and economic depression also explain the observed land use changes. For harmonious integration of human and ecological systems, there may be need for promotion of sustainable agricultural intensification pathways. Awareness on the importance of wetlands could save them from further degradation. Improved settlement planning which prioritises restoring current forests may be a basis for improving human and ecological systems.
2. Reconceptualizing Elinor Ostrom’s design principles in light of the global climate crisis
Appalachian State University, USA
The impacts from climate change are becoming more severe across the globe, causing individuals, families, and communities to migrate or relocate as a way to respond and cope with changing environmental conditions. While nations and communities in the Global North hold most of the responsibility for the climate crisis, it is the communities and nations in the Global South that suffer most of their effects. In this research I conceptualize nations as a socio-historical commons with their own set of unique policies and identities, have clearly defined boundaries that determine who has (and doesn’t have) access to the spaces and services within (corresponding to Elinor Ostrom’s first design principle), and contribute in varying degrees to the climate crisis. While borders help with the governance of these socio-historical commons, I argue that the importance of this principle is undermined, and in fact, counterproductive, in light of the rise of climate induced migration as individuals and communities are forced to move across these boundaries. In this research I look at feedbacks between socio-historical and biophysical commons and within them, and analyze how restricting the free movement of people who are being disproportionately affected by climate change is detrimental across many dimensions including social, humanitarian, and environmental; and propose how reconceptualizing how we think about borders in the context of global climate commons with global externalities can result in a more effective approach to addressing issues of climate justice, climate adaptation, and climate mitigation.
3. Tackling Nitrogen Challenge in India through Policy and Stakeholder Research
TERI School of Advanced Studies, India
While the consequences of excessive carbon dioxide emissions are widely understood, the risks of excessive nitrogen emissions are not. Nitrogen has surpassed planetary bounds as a result of human activities, disrupting ecosystem functioning. The buildup of Reactive Nitrogen (Nr) compounds has a negative impact on the ecosystem, leading to poor quality of common resources like air, soil, freshwater, and marine environment, ultimately contributing to climate change, eutrophication, as well as biodiversity loss. Nitrogen emissions must be managed at several scales to solve these problems (from global to local).
Concerns regarding nitrogen management in the policy arena are driven, in large part, by a small number of powerful interests. An investigation into these interests and any potential conflicts of interest may assist in identifying the actors behind these concerns and the objectives they seek to achieve. Research on stakeholders enables a better understanding of the power dynamics, as well as present and prospective coalitions, that influence policy movements or have the capacity to do so in the future. In this work, we investigate the possibilities offered by stakeholder research methodologies for conducting a critical analysis of the ability of diverse players to influence and direct the policymaking process in the direction of sustainable nitrogen management.
4. “Synecoculture” as a forever carbon-negative agro-ecological paradigm
Centre Africain de Recherche et de Formation en Synécoculture, Burkina Faso
Aware of the negative impact of current agricultural production systems on human and environmental health, it seems more than urgent, even essential for African countries to focus their efforts on the adoption and promotion of new production strategies that are more productive, intensive, profitable, promote biodiversity and the ecosystem in order to face climate, food and health challenges. `
It is within this framework that Synecoculture fits, a sustainable cultivation method that promotes combinations of diverse and varied plant species on a small agricultural space without the addition of chemicals; using only the symbioses between plants and the intrinsic properties of cultivated species to considerably increase productivity and increase farmers’ income while rebuilding/increasing biodiversity.
Also, women and young people from all African countries, both actors and main targets of the negative effects shared between the Agriculture-Income-Climate triptych, will be dynamically involved in the implementation of this agricultural transition for the benefit of sustainable development. of Africa.
Our participation aims to disseminate worldwide science-based knowledge on the good practice and strategy of Synecoculture starting from African countries, with possible outreach to smallholding countries in the world.
5. La transition énergétique en Afrique dans un contexte de gouvernance climatique globale et d’impératif de développement régional : enjeux et trajectoires
Institut des Relations Internationales du Cameroun, Cameroun
Depuis trois décennies, le climat s’est imposé comme un enjeu majeur de la gouvernance internationale. Dans cette tentative globale de régulation de l’effet de serre, toutes les régions du monde doivent prendre part aux efforts d’atténuation. L’Afrique n’est donc pas en marge de cette exigence de durabilité. Bien que faiblement émettrice, vulnérables aux changements climatiques et bénéficiant du plus important potentiel mondial en sources d’énergies renouvelables, elle est appelée à jouer les premiers rôles. Ce devoir d’action doit s’inscrire dans sa trajectoire de développement à la croisée des chemins entre une demande énergétique qui se veut croissante et une démographie galopante. Un entre-deux « climat-développement » reposant sur les énergies renouvelables est donc possible. Cependant, il doit exploiter le fort potentiel de l’Afrique en la matière en relevant plusieurs défis. La transition énergétique en Afrique enracinée dans une vision régionale, forte et opérationnelle qui se décline de manière cohérente et harmonisée aux niveaux sous régionaux et nationaux, ferait du continent africain le centre mondial de la production des énergies renouvelables. Elle lui donnerait la possibilité d’exploiter ces avantages comparatifs pour une croissance inclusive et durable. Elle est donc cruciale pour le développement économique de l’Afrique en cohérence avec les objectifs de l’Accord de Paris. C’est la raison pour laquelle cette contribution se veut donc une analyse de cet entre-deux en termes d’enjeux, de défis pour l’Afrique et de possibilités de structuration de cette transition à différents échelles de gouvernance.