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Accueil du site → Doctorat → États-Unis → 2018 → Farming and Meaning at the Desert’s Edge : Can Serer Indigenous Agricultural and Cultural Systems Coevolve Towards Sustainability ?

University of Oregon (2018)

Farming and Meaning at the Desert’s Edge : Can Serer Indigenous Agricultural and Cultural Systems Coevolve Towards Sustainability ?

Faye, Jean

Titre : Farming and Meaning at the Desert’s Edge : Can Serer Indigenous Agricultural and Cultural Systems Coevolve Towards Sustainability ?

Auteur : Faye, Jean

Université de soutenance : University of Oregon

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2018

Résumé
Indigenous agroforestry systems, or the intentional use of trees and livestock in croplands, have a long history in the West African Sahel. In many locations, they have long contributed to food security and climate change resilience. But a century or more of cash cropping and use of modern agricultural inputs and tools has meant that no such agroforestry systems remain intact, and many are extinct, including in west-central Senegal, where the Serer historic mixed farming and pastoral strategies previously provided resilience to cyclical droughts and colonial-era agricultural and economic change but are now neither intact nor extinct. This study examines the current state of Serer agroecosystems, considering who uses what elements of the old systems, who has introduced what elements of nonindigenous farming systems, and whether this combination of local and imported farming systems is a coherent and sustainable fusion, or an incoherent pastiche leading toward agrarian collapse. I argue that, depending on how farmers integrate new models with the technical and cultural elements of the old system, a coherent fusion may result, with positive implications for sustainability, climate change adaptation, soil replenishment, crop yield, and livelihood resilience. This mixed-methods study draws upon literature from cultural ecology, agroecology, socioecological resilience, and history to interpret farmers’ accounts of changing agrarian practices. The study links ethnographic findings to empirical analysis of soil conditions and land use change. With these tools, my research sheds new light on the evolving role of local techniques and knowledge in the struggle to maintain agricultural productivity, as Sahelian communities confront soil fertility depletion, food insecurity, and climate change. The study finds that farming communities in this region can strengthen their livelihood resilience and enhance crop yields if they update elements of the well-adapted historic farming system, employ new techniques and tools, and in the process, forge coherent farming systems that still make cultural sense to farmers.

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Page publiée le 11 mars 2019