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Rural societies in the face of climatic and environmental changes in West Africa

 | 
Benjamin Sultan
, 
Richard Lalou
, 
Mouftaou Amadou Sanni
, 
et al.

Part I. Recent and future climate change in West Africa. Obvious features, uncertainties and perceptions

Chapter 5. When nature talks to us

Comparative analysis of representations of climatic and environmental changes

Anne Attané, Amadou Oumarou et Mame Arame Soumaré

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Introduction

Farming societies everywhere are always concerned by meteorological developments in both the short term (special meteorological events) and on a more long-term scale (climate trends). There is talk in all societies aimed both at describing the meteorological changes perceived as the seasons go by and at what might be the reasons for the perceived, observed changes. Rural societies do not perceive or interpret the present climate changes in the same terms as those of technical/scientific approaches (Basset and Crummey, 2003; Korbéogo, 2013). Collecting popular perceptions of meteorological changes makes it possible to both compare ‘popular’ and ‘academic’ knowledge and obtain information about the specific practices that may result from these representations. Indeed, farming practices are often determined directly by the perceptions that farmers may have of the supposed meteorological pattern as the season in question proceeds. It is thus essential to collect stakeholders...

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