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Mitigating the impact of bad rainy seasons in poor agricultural regions to tackle deforestation

Abstract : Land use changes are known to account for over 20% of human greenhouse gas emissions andtree cover losses can significantly influence land-climate dynamics. Land-climate feedbacks havebeen identified and evaluated for a long time. However, in addition to the direct effect of climatechange on forest biomes, recent sparse evidence has shown that land use changes may increaseas a result of weather shocks. In Western and Central Africa, agriculture is the main source ofincome and employment for rural populations. Economies rely on agricultural production, whichis largely rainfed, and therefore dependent predominantly upon seasonal rainfall. In this article,I explore the impact of seasonal rainfall quality on deforestation, by combining high-resolutionremotely-sensed annual tree cover loss, land cover, human activity and daily rainfall data. Ishow that in poor regions that are mainly reliant on rainfed agriculture, a bad rainy season leadsto large deforestation shocks. These shocks notably depend on the proportion of agriculturalland and on the remoteness of the areas in question, as remoteness determines the ability toimport food and the existence of alternative income sources. In areas with significant forestcover, a short rainfall season leads to a 15% increase in deforestation. In unconnected areaswith small proportions of crop area, the increase in deforestation reaches 20%. Findings suggestthat a refined understanding of the land use changes caused by rainfall shocks might be used toimprove the design and effectiveness of development, adaptation and conservation policies
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03111007
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Submitted on : Friday, January 15, 2021 - 8:51:01 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, February 2, 2021 - 3:10:04 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, April 16, 2021 - 6:12:36 PM

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Antoine Leblois. Mitigating the impact of bad rainy seasons in poor agricultural regions to tackle deforestation. Environmental Research Letters, IOP Publishing, In press, ⟨10.1088/1748-9326/abdbf0⟩. ⟨hal-03111007⟩

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