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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 III. Social changes in rural populations

Introduction

Bénédicte Gastineau

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How will rural societies in Africa adapt to the climate risks and uncertainties to come? Although there is still considerable uncertainty with regard to the scale of future climate changes in Africa, it is clear that they will come and that societies will have to face them—some exposed to rises in temperature, others to changes in the rainfall pattern, more arid soils, etc. Analysis of farmers’ practices shows that they have great capacity for adaptation and innovate continuously to address variability in climate and environmental resources and also in reaction to economic, political and population changes. Rural African societies are dynamic. Whether focused on crops or pastoral activities, whether located on the coast, in the Sahel or in forest, their socioeconomic organisation and farming systems change and adapt continuously (Bourgeot, 1994; Carpentier and Gana, 2013; Rabearimanana et al., 1994). This generally enables these societies to remain on their land in spite of the envi...

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