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Journal Article

Adaptation to new climate by an old strategy? Modeling sedentary and mobile pastoralism in semi-arid Morocco

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Freier, K. P., Finckh, M., & Schneider, U. A. (2014). Adaptation to new climate by an old strategy? Modeling sedentary and mobile pastoralism in semi-arid Morocco. Land, 3, 917-940. doi:10.3390/land3030917.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-5F85-F
In a modeling study we examine vulnerability of income from mobile (transhumant) pastoralism and sedentary pastoralism to reduced mean annual precipitation (MAP) and droughts. The study is based on empirical data of a 3410 km2 research region in southern, semi-arid Morocco. The land use decision model integrates a meta-model of the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) simulator to depict perennial and annual forage plant development. It also includes livestock dynamics and forward-looking decision making under uncertain weather. Mobile livestock in the model moves seasonally, sedentary livestock is restricted to pastures around settlements. For a reduction of MAP by 20, our model shows for different experimental frequencies of droughts a significant decrease of total income from pastoralism by 8–19 (p lt; 0.05). Looking separately at the two modes of pastoralism, pronounced income losses of 18–44 (p lt; 0.05) show that sedentary pastoralism is much more vulnerable to dryer climate than mobile pastoralism, which is merely affected. Dedicating more pasture area and high quality fodder to mobile pastoralism significantly abates impacts from reduced MAP and droughts on total income by 11 (p lt; 0.05). Our results indicate that promotion of mobile pastoralism in semi-arid areas is a valuable option to increase resilience against climate change.