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Farmers’ perceptions of climate change impacts on ecosystem services delivery of parklands in southern Mali

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Agroforestry parklands in the Sahel provide a number of ecosystem services that help farmers cope better with climate change effects and thus reducing their vulnerability. However, parklands are threatened due to the decline in densities of species that are sensitive to drought and that might compromise the delivery of the above mentioned ecosystem services to farmers. Therefore, data were collected by interviewing 400 smallholder farmers to elucidate farmers’ perceptions of climate change in southern Mali and potential consequences on the delivery of ecosystem services from the parklands. Descriptive statistics and multinomial logit model were used to analyse the data collected and identify the indictors as well as the determinants of farmers’ perception of climate change. The findings revealed increases in the frequency of strong wind, dust, drought, high temperatures and number of hot days as the main climate change-related indicators. Furthermore, an early cessation of the rainy season, frequent drought and wind were found to be the factors impeding a better delivery of the ecosystem services from the parklands. Early cessation of rains and frequent drought might affect the water availability which in turn affects the flowering and fruiting phases of the trees. The occurrence of strong wind causes the shedding of the flowers thus reducing the fruit production. Age, educational level, farm size and gender are key factors influencing farmer’s perception of climate change. The strategies adopted by these farmers to cope with climate shocks include use of improved drought-tolerant crop varieties, diversification of crops, off-farm activities and seasonal migration. Based on these findings, we therefore suggest the development of conducive environment that can help create agricultural related off-farm income earning activities that could protect active households from the impacts of climate change and variability. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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