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Local Perception of Risk to Livelihoods in the Semi-Arid Landscape of Southern Africa
Department of Geography, University of Florida, 3141 Turlington Hall P.O. Box 117315, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Center for African Studies, University of Florida, 427 Grinter Hall P.O. Box 115560, Gainesville, FL 32611,USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 March 2013; in revised form: 3 May 2013 / Accepted: 6 May 2013 / Published: 15 May 2013
Abstract: The United Nations and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change deem many regions of southern Africa as vulnerable landscapes due to changing climatic regimes, ecological conditions, and low adaptive capacity. Typically in highly vulnerable regions, multiple livelihood strategies are employed to enable sustainable development. In Botswana, livelihood strategies have diversified over time to include tourism and other non-agricultural activities. While such diversification and development have been studied, little is known about how locals perceive livelihood risks. This article analyzes perceptions of risk through a risk hazards framework. During the summer of 2010, 330 surveys were completed within seven villages in northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip of Namibia. During the survey respondents were asked to list the biggest threats/challenges to their livelihoods. Responses were grouped into categories of risk according to the capital assets on which livelihoods depend: natural, physical, financial, human, and social. A risk mapping procedure was utilized, for which indices of severity, incidence, and risk were calculated. It is hypothesized that people’s perception of risk is directly dependent on environmental conditions and employment status of the household. Results indicate that problems related to natural and financial assets are the greatest source of risk to livelihoods. Furthermore, flood, drought, and other measures of climate variability are perceived as influential, typically negatively, to livelihood strategies.
Keywords: livelihoods; risk; Southern Africa; perception; vulnerability
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Bunting, E.; Steele, J.; Keys, E.; Muyengwa, S.; Child, B.; Southworth, J. Local Perception of Risk to Livelihoods in the Semi-Arid Landscape of Southern Africa. Land 2013, 2, 225-251.
Bunting E, Steele J, Keys E, Muyengwa S, Child B, Southworth J. Local Perception of Risk to Livelihoods in the Semi-Arid Landscape of Southern Africa. Land. 2013; 2(2):225-251.
Bunting, Erin; Steele, Jessica; Keys, Eric; Muyengwa, Shylock; Child, Brian; Southworth, Jane. 2013. "Local Perception of Risk to Livelihoods in the Semi-Arid Landscape of Southern Africa." Land 2, no. 2: 225-251.