Special Issue "The Impacts of Drought on Ecosystem Services and Livelihoods in the Global South"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Gladman Thondhlana
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Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University, Makhanda, Eastern Cape 6140, South Africa
Interests: environmental resource use and household welfare; conservation conflicts; energy efficiency
Dr. Sheunesu Ruwanza
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Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University, Makhanda, Eastern Cape, South Africa, 6140
Interests: restoration ecology
Dr. Elandrie Davoren
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Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University, Makhanda, Eastern Cape, South Africa, 6140
Interests: urban ecology; ecosystem disservices
Dr. Staffan Rosell
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Human Geography at Department of Economy and Society, Box 625, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
Interests: land use changes; rural livelihoods
Dr. Andrea Belgrano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Marine Research, Department of Aquatic Resources, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Turistgatan 5, SE-453 30 Lysekil, Sweden
Interests: food webs; biodiversity; population, community and ecosystem ecology; fisheries; ecosystem-based management; biocomplexity; biological oceanography; climate change; philosophy
Prof. Dr. Regina Lindborg
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Stockholm University, Dept Phys Geog & Quaternary Geol, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: ecology; conservation; agricultural landscapes; land use; climate change
Prof. Dr. Sheona Shackleton
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa
Interests: vulnerability; climate change adaptation; ecosystem services; landscape and livelihood change; transdisciplinarity
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Ken Findlay
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Guest Editor
CPUT Research Chair Oceans Economy, Centre for Sustainable Oceans, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, PO Box 652, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa
Interests: Oceans economies and governance and ecosystem based management approaches
Prof. James Gambiza
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University, Makhanda, Eastern Cape, South Africa, 6140
Interests: fire ecology, systems ecology, rangeland ecology, natural resource management, plant-animal interactions, ecological modelling and land degradation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The recent UNCCD (2019) Report on Drought Impact and Vulnerability Assessment stated that the impacts that droughts have on livelihoods, economies, and ecosystems have been higher due to drought intensity and frequency. Drought has especially negative impacts on marginalized and vulnerable societies, particularly in the Global South, due to its socio-economic vulnerabilities. While risks of drought impacts may seem obvious, e.g., water scarcity, crop loss, and increases in disease outbreak, huge knowledge gaps remain in this arena, making anticipation of, and planning for, long-term impacts difficult.

In this Special Issue, we aim to provide a collection of papers that critically evaluates links between drought frequency and severity, ecosystem services and disservices, and associated impacts to livelihoods across terrestrial and coastal ecosystems in the Global South. Topics of interest include identification of the social actors most affected by droughts and whether drought impacts differ across social-ecological gradients, livelihoods, and ecosystems. Interest also extends to how different ecosystem service generation is affected by drought intensity and frequency as ecosystem stressors and the extent to which drought might generate disservices as ecosystem shocks. Future proofing of systems against the risk impacts of drought shocks and stressors is dependent on informed decision options that are, in turn, dependent on adequate empirical observations across social, economic, and environmental disciplines.

We consequently welcome manuscripts from across natural and social sciences, as well as cross-disciplinary studies, including in-depth case studies (place based), reviews (linked to case studies), studies that cross socio-ecological gradients, and case studies from urban, rural, and coastal environments (catchment-to-coast). In particular, we invite contributions based on studies in areas that have or are still experiencing sequential droughts.

Interested authors should submit abstracts to Guest Editors, Gladman Thondhlana ([email protected]), Sheunesu Ruwanza ([email protected]), and Elandrie Davoren ([email protected]) for assessment and approval before submitting full manuscripts. Authors are encouraged to submit their contributions as soon as possible, with abstracts being submitted prior to 30 October 2021 and the full manuscript by 30 December 2021.

Dr. Gladman Thondhlana
Dr. Sheunesu Ruwanza
Dr. Elandrie Davoren
Dr. Staffan Rosell
Dr. Andrea Belgrano
Prof. Dr. Regina Lindborg
Prof. Dr. Sheona Shackleton
Prof. Dr. Ken Findlay
Prof. James Gambiza
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • droughts
  • risk impact
  • ecosystem services
  • livelihoods
  • social-ecological gradient

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Persistent Droughts and Water Scarcity: Households’ Perceptions and Practices in Makhanda, South Africa
Land 2021, 10(6), 593; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060593 - 04 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 839
Abstract
Households in many cities worldwide consume substantial amounts of water, but increasing aridity will result in serious water supply challenges in the future. In South Africa, droughts are now a common phenomenon, with severe implications on water supply for urban households. Developing interventions [...] Read more.
Households in many cities worldwide consume substantial amounts of water, but increasing aridity will result in serious water supply challenges in the future. In South Africa, droughts are now a common phenomenon, with severe implications on water supply for urban households. Developing interventions to minimise the impacts of drought requires understanding of users’ perceptions of water scarcity, water use practices, and participation in water conservation practices. Using household surveys across different income groups (low, medium, and high) in Makhanda, South Africa, this study investigates households’ perceptions of water scarcity, water use, and conservation practices as a basis for designing pathways for sustainable water use practices. Results indicate that a substantial proportion of households were aware of water scarcity and attributed it to poor municipal planning rather than drought and wasteful use practices. Households reported good water use behaviour, but wasteful practices (e.g., regular flushing of toilets) were evident. Gender, age, education, and environmental awareness influenced water use practices, but the relationships were generally weak. Households participated in water conservation measures but felt the local municipal authority lagged in addressing water supply challenges. The implications of the study are discussed. Full article
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Article
Local Perceptions on the Impact of Drought on Wetland Ecosystem Services and Associated Household Livelihood Benefits: The Case of the Driefontein Ramsar Site in Zimbabwe
Land 2021, 10(6), 587; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060587 - 02 Jun 2021
Viewed by 777
Abstract
The paper assesses local people’s perceptions on the impact of drought on wetland ecosystem services and the associated household livelihood benefits, focusing on the Driefontein Ramsar site in Chirumanzu district, Zimbabwe. Field data were obtained using a questionnaire from 159 randomly selected households, [...] Read more.
The paper assesses local people’s perceptions on the impact of drought on wetland ecosystem services and the associated household livelihood benefits, focusing on the Driefontein Ramsar site in Chirumanzu district, Zimbabwe. Field data were obtained using a questionnaire from 159 randomly selected households, key informant interviews and transect walks. The study findings show that provisioning, regulating and supporting services are severely affected by a high frequency of drought, occurring at least once every two years, compared to cultural services. There is a reduction in water for domestic use and crop farming, pasture for livestock, fish, thatch grass and ground water recharge. Although cultural services such as traditional rain-making ceremonies and spiritual enhancement are largely unaffected by drought, the wetland’s aesthetic value was reported to be diminishing. The habitat and breeding areas of endangered crane bird species were perceived to be dwindling, affecting their reproduction. All the household heads are not formally employed and largely depend on the wetland resources for food and income. However, drought is adversely affecting wetland-based agricultural activities that are key pillars of the households’ economy. Therefore, there is a need for alternative livelihood strategies that enable local communities to adapt to drought impacts without exerting more pressure on the declining wetland resources. Full article
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Article
Impact of Agricultural Drought Resilience on the Welfare of Smallholder Livestock Farming Households in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa
Land 2021, 10(6), 562; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060562 - 27 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 748
Abstract
Recurring agricultural droughts are of concern to smallholder livestock farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study determined the impact of agricultural drought resilience on smallholder livestock farming households’ welfare in the Frances Baard District Municipality (FBDM), in Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Interviews, [...] Read more.
Recurring agricultural droughts are of concern to smallholder livestock farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study determined the impact of agricultural drought resilience on smallholder livestock farming households’ welfare in the Frances Baard District Municipality (FBDM), in Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Interviews, more specifically survey interviews, were conducted with 207 smallholder livestock farmers. We used compensation variation, resilience index and linear regression models to analyse the data. The findings indicate that smallholder farmers who received drought relief support saw an improvement in their welfare. However, the welfare improvements varied across respondents and different gender categories, with males having higher welfare improvements relative to females. The study also found that economic capital, social capital, human capital and natural capital substantially affected the welfare of smallholder farmers. Furthermore, the study revealed that the smallholder farmers had a moderate agricultural drought resilience index, but low natural resilience capital. The study recommends that governments and non-governmental policymakers aiming to improve the welfare of smallholder farmers should focus on building their economic, social, human and capital resource bases. In this way, the smallholder farmers will be resilient in a time of climatic shock. Full article
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