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Gender-specific responses to climate variability in a semi-arid ecosystem in northern Benin

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ABSTRACT

Highly erratic rainfall patterns in northern Benin complicate the ability of rural farmers to engage in subsistence agriculture. This research explores gender-specific responses to climate variability in the context of agrarian Benin through a household survey (n = 260) and an experimental gaming exercise among a subset of the survey respondents. Although men and women from the sample population are equally aware of climate variability and share similar coping strategies, their specific land-use strategies, preferences, and motivations are distinct. Over the long term, these differences would likely lead to dissimilar coping strategies and vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Examination of gender-specific land-use responses to climate change and anticipatory learning can enhance efforts to improve adaptability and resilience among rural subsistence farmers.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Game results with respect to a rainfall patterns, b grazing (cattle) strategy, and c land-use patterns by gender in the Benin study area (2014)
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Fig3: Game results with respect to a rainfall patterns, b grazing (cattle) strategy, and c land-use patterns by gender in the Benin study area (2014)

Mentions: The gaming exercise results are summarized in Fig. 3. Neither the t test nor Wilcoxon test results indicate significant differences between genders. Groups of both genders have similar average rainfall patterns during the game exercises (Fig. 3a). During years 1–4 of each game, groups of both men and women have similar patterns of livestock production (Fig. 3b). The mode of selling livestock differs slightly between genders; women typically sell livestock in years 3 and 5, whereas men steadily sell livestock every year. Overall, women-only groups produce less than half of the average number of degraded patches as the men-only groups (Fig. 3c). Women-only groups convert more patches to crop production than men-only groups (Fig. 3c). Most women participants express displeasure when they produce bush/fallow or degraded patches (Fig. 3c), and make greater efforts to restore these patches by selling livestock and using the proceeds to purchase fertilizer or convert the patch to crop production. In contrast, men generally exhibit a more positive attitude regarding the production of bush patches, which they perceive would serve “somewhat like a fallow to restore soil fertility.” Although both men and women perceive cotton as superior to other crops (probably because it provides short-term income and is subsidized through discounted fertilizer and pesticide assistance by the government), women typically choose to cultivate staple crops such as maize and rice, which are not subsidized by the government.Fig. 3


Gender-specific responses to climate variability in a semi-arid ecosystem in northern Benin
Game results with respect to a rainfall patterns, b grazing (cattle) strategy, and c land-use patterns by gender in the Benin study area (2014)
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5120022&req=5

Fig3: Game results with respect to a rainfall patterns, b grazing (cattle) strategy, and c land-use patterns by gender in the Benin study area (2014)
Mentions: The gaming exercise results are summarized in Fig. 3. Neither the t test nor Wilcoxon test results indicate significant differences between genders. Groups of both genders have similar average rainfall patterns during the game exercises (Fig. 3a). During years 1–4 of each game, groups of both men and women have similar patterns of livestock production (Fig. 3b). The mode of selling livestock differs slightly between genders; women typically sell livestock in years 3 and 5, whereas men steadily sell livestock every year. Overall, women-only groups produce less than half of the average number of degraded patches as the men-only groups (Fig. 3c). Women-only groups convert more patches to crop production than men-only groups (Fig. 3c). Most women participants express displeasure when they produce bush/fallow or degraded patches (Fig. 3c), and make greater efforts to restore these patches by selling livestock and using the proceeds to purchase fertilizer or convert the patch to crop production. In contrast, men generally exhibit a more positive attitude regarding the production of bush patches, which they perceive would serve “somewhat like a fallow to restore soil fertility.” Although both men and women perceive cotton as superior to other crops (probably because it provides short-term income and is subsidized through discounted fertilizer and pesticide assistance by the government), women typically choose to cultivate staple crops such as maize and rice, which are not subsidized by the government.Fig. 3

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Highly erratic rainfall patterns in northern Benin complicate the ability of rural farmers to engage in subsistence agriculture. This research explores gender-specific responses to climate variability in the context of agrarian Benin through a household survey (n = 260) and an experimental gaming exercise among a subset of the survey respondents. Although men and women from the sample population are equally aware of climate variability and share similar coping strategies, their specific land-use strategies, preferences, and motivations are distinct. Over the long term, these differences would likely lead to dissimilar coping strategies and vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Examination of gender-specific land-use responses to climate change and anticipatory learning can enhance efforts to improve adaptability and resilience among rural subsistence farmers.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus