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Title:Spatial scales, desertification and environmental perception in the Bougouriba region (Burkina Faso)
Author:Lambin, Eric F.ISNI
Series:Working papers
City of publisher:Boston, MA
Publisher:African Studies Center, Boston University
Geographic term:Burkina Faso
land use
agricultural land
Abstract:There are considerable differences in the spatial scales at which scientists from different disciplines study desertification. Desertification is best detected on a continental or subcontinental scale, yet it is the product of innumerable land-use decisions at the local scale. The analysis of the gap between the different spatial scales related to desertification and the spatial scale displacement of costs and benefits can contribute to a better understanding of the human dimension of this process. Empirical evidence is provided by a case study of the environmental perception and land use practices of two categories of agricultural communities in the Bougouriba region, in southwestern Burkina Faso, the autochthonous Pougouli and the immigrant Mossi. The results indicate that the sedentary and isolated Pougouli, as compared to the Mossi migrants, tend to underestimate the land degradation in progress at the Bougouriba regional level, and thus do not adapt their land use practices at the scale of their land management units. The Mossi migrants have a more accurate perception of the ecological process going on in the Bougouriba, a fact attributable in part to the more synoptic and coarse-scale view of the effects of land degradation in other regions of Burkina Faso which the Mossi have acquired in the course of their migrations.