Maxwell School professor to lead research team investigating climate change-induced conflict in Senegal and Mali
John McPeak, associate professor of public administration at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, will lead an international, multi-disciplinary team seeking to reduce climate change-related conflicts between pastoralists and farmers in the Senegal and Niger River basins in the West African countries of Senegal and Mali.
In the fertile riverine flood plains, pastoralists and rice farmers are competing for land and water resources, which are shifting and shrinking because of climate change. The project, “Management of River Systems for the Future,” or RIVERS, aims to help find win-win solutions for herders and farmers that give both groups access to critical resources and sustain the environment that supports their livelihoods. Over the next year, the project team will design a cost-benefit analysis of irrigated rice production compared to livestock production, and develop a research program to map vegetation changes and seasonal movement corridors used by herders and their livestock.
Affected communities will use project results as they develop local management plans that minimize the risk of conflict, enhance overall productivity and empower farmers and herders to adapt to ongoing changes in both the natural and economic environment.
Project collaborators include Jay Angerer from Texas A&M University, Mathew Turner from the University of Wisconson-Madison, Charles Benjamin and Yacouba Déme from the Near East Foundation, Lassine Diarra from the Institut d’Economie Rural, Mame Nahé Diouf from the Institut Sénégalaise de Recherches Agricoles, Alphonse Faye and Brook Johnson from the Cooperative League of the USA and Pierre Hiernaux from Laboratoire des Mécanismes et Transfers en Géologie.
The RIVERS project builds on a decade of research on livestock systems in West Africa by McPeak and other members of the project team.
The RIVERS project is funded through the Livestock-Climate Change Collaborative Research Support Program, established in May 2010 through a $15 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development awarded to Colorado State University’s Animal Population Health Institute and the university’s Institute for Livestock and the Environment. This program pursues interdisciplinary research, education and outreach in semi-arid regions to better the lives and livelihoods of small-scale livestock producers by developing strategies to help them cope with the impacts of climate change. For more information about the LCC CRSP, visit www.csucrsp.org.