Embedded Discourses: Nigerien Academic Contributions to Land Use Change Research Since the 1960s

Sarah Ann Lise D'haen, Ibrahim Bouzou Moussa, Anette Reenberg


On the basis of a systematic screening of research papers, this study explores the land use and land cover change research priorities of scholars from Niger since independence. It investigates how key interests have evolved over time with regard to what issues are considered important as well as the researchers’ assessments of changes in the Sahel and their driving forces. In doing so a) it identifies the dominant characterization of land changes and their implication, and b) it explores the possible change over time with regard to focus of interest in the national science community. The available pool of scientific publications is screened by use of a meta-study approach, followed by a hierarchical cluster analysis of identified key variables, to synthesize existing knowledge. The meta-study reveals that no land research was communicated through scholarly papers before the early 1990s. Since 1994, the Nigerien academic research on land change has documented a diverse range of changes (e.g. expansion, intensification, conservation, tenure); yet the material cannot support general conclusions about dominant trajectories of change. Different human-environmental discourses have influenced the research questions in different regions and time periods, with implications for the problems addressed in specific case studies. It is concluded that the collective insight into land change processes reveals land system complexities rather than generic trends.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/jsd.v6n7p69

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