Agricultural innovation and environmental change on the floodplains of the Congo River

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Version: Final published version
License: Not specified
Serval ID
serval:BIB_5FBE58A401D8
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
Agricultural innovation and environmental change on the floodplains of the Congo River
Journal
The Geographical Journal
Author(s)
Comptour Marion, Cosiaux Ariane, Coomes Oliver T., Bader Jean Claude, Malaterre Pierre Olivier, Yoka Joseph, Caillon Sophie, McKey Doyle
ISSN
0016-7398
1475-4959
Publication state
Published
Issued date
08/07/2019
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Language
english
Abstract
Climate‐driven environmental changes bring new risks but also opportunities to populations living along the world's major rivers. Based on ethnoecological fieldwork, in this paper we examine how people living in the cuvette centrale of the Congo basin have adopted flood‐recession agriculture on islands in the Congo River, taking advantage of a secular shift since the 1980s in the hydrological regime of the Congo River. Analyses of the hydrological data reveal that this shift decreased flood risk and significantly extended the growing season on the islands, long enough to enable cultivation of fast‐maturing varieties of manioc and other crops. Flood‐recession farming on islands in the river is today not only an important source of food, but also a source of income for women, who are primarily responsible for seasonal cultivation of fields during the low‐water season. Hydrological changes alone are insufficient to explain the adoption of the new agricultural practice; adoption also arose as a result of dynamic interactions among river fishing, trading, and broader socio‐economic forces. Climate‐change models project an increased frequency of extreme floods. Our results suggest that this change may limit island cultivation in the future. More generally, our findings point to the importance of looking beyond single‐factor, solely environmental explanations in studies of climate‐change adaptation.
Keywords
Adaptation, Climate change, Congo basin, Ethnoecology, Flood-recession farming, Social-ecological system
Web of science
Open Access
Yes
Create date
02/09/2019 9:57
Last modification date
02/09/2019 9:59
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