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Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 311;

Causes for Adaptation: Access to Forests, Markets and Representation in Eastern Senegal

Open Society Fellow and Centre d’Action pour le Développement et la Recherche en Afrique (CADRE), HLM Grand Yoff, No. 497, Dakar BP: 17547 Dakar-Liberte, Senegal
Stanford Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences and Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 605 East Springfield, Champaign, IL 61820, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Governance for Sustainability)
Full-Text   |   PDF [283 KB, uploaded 22 February 2017]


Adaptation is a means of reducing vulnerability. So, understanding causes of vulnerability should help to achieve adaptation. Why, then, are people vulnerable? Why do expected dry spells turn into hunger? Why do mere droughts become disasters? This article shows some of the multiscale processes that make the lives of people in the forests of Eastern Senegal precarious; it outlines processes that reduce forest villagers’ access to resources, lucrative markets and political representation. These are the processes that place villagers at risk when exposed to stressors— climate or otherwise. In this case, the Forest Service applies double standards—favoring urban merchants while subordinating forest villagers—through the making, interpretation, implementation and circumvention of laws and regulations. The wealth of the poor is continuously expropriated by a well-adapted extractive apparatus, enriching urban merchants while leaving villagers incapacitated. These people may lack adaptive capacity or capability or assets or social protections, but those lacks have causes. “Adaptation” without identifying and addressing these root causes is palliative at best. Security requires emancipatory transformations. View Full-Text
Keywords: Senegal; forests; adaptation; vulnerability; transformation Senegal; forests; adaptation; vulnerability; transformation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Faye, P.; Ribot, J. Causes for Adaptation: Access to Forests, Markets and Representation in Eastern Senegal. Sustainability 2017, 9, 311.

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