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Land 2014, 3(3), 917-940; doi:10.3390/land3030917

Adaptation to New Climate by an Old Strategy? Modeling Sedentary and Mobile Pastoralism in Semi-Arid Morocco

1
Research Unit Sustainability and Global Change, KlimaCampus, University of Hamburg, Grindelberg 5, D-20144 Hamburg, Germany
2
Biocentre Klein Flottbek and Botanical Garden, University of Hamburg, Ohnhorststr. 18, D-22609 Hamburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 April 2014 / Revised: 4 July 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 31 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Change Modeling: Connecting to the Bigger Picture)
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Abstract

In a modeling study we examine vulnerability of income from mobile (transhumant) pastoralism and sedentary pastoralism to reduced mean annual precipitation (MAP) and droughts. The study is based on empirical data of a 3410 km2 research region in southern, semi-arid Morocco. The land use decision model integrates a meta-model of the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) simulator to depict perennial and annual forage plant development. It also includes livestock dynamics and forward-looking decision making under uncertain weather. Mobile livestock in the model moves seasonally, sedentary livestock is restricted to pastures around settlements. For a reduction of MAP by 20%, our model shows for different experimental frequencies of droughts a significant decrease of total income from pastoralism by 8%–19% (p < 0.05). Looking separately at the two modes of pastoralism, pronounced income losses of 18%–44% (p < 0.05) show that sedentary pastoralism is much more vulnerable to dryer climate than mobile pastoralism, which is merely affected. Dedicating more pasture area and high quality fodder to mobile pastoralism significantly abates impacts from reduced MAP and droughts on total income by 11% (p < 0.05). Our results indicate that promotion of mobile pastoralism in semi-arid areas is a valuable option to increase resilience against climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: adaptation; bioeconomic land use modeling; climate change; EPIC; North Africa; resilience; semi-arid pastoralism; transhumance adaptation; bioeconomic land use modeling; climate change; EPIC; North Africa; resilience; semi-arid pastoralism; transhumance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Freier, K.P.; Finckh, M.; Schneider, U.A. Adaptation to New Climate by an Old Strategy? Modeling Sedentary and Mobile Pastoralism in Semi-Arid Morocco. Land 2014, 3, 917-940.

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