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WIREs Clim Change
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Impacts of drought and responses of rural populations in West Africa: a systematic review

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In West Africa, climate variations and droughts have always affected livelihoods but have also triggered adaptation strategies. A better understanding of the impacts of drought and the responses of West African populations is indispensable for researchers and decision makers in the current and future context of multiple socioeconomic and environmental changes, including climate change. We conducted a systematic review of the literature on drought in West Africa. In this paper, we highlight controversial issues and identify knowledge gaps. Although drought has been widely considered as a major problem in West Africa, there is a need to frame it within a set of multiple threats faced by local populations and to understand how droughts act as a trigger in economic, societal, and environmental contexts. The literature on responses to drought focuses on agricultural and individual responses, while diversification, migration, and tree‐based or livestock‐based responses are less frequently addressed. More research is needed on the effectiveness and on the unexpected effects of responses of populations, states, and NGOs, as well as on the interactions between different responses. To understand the complexity of impacts and responses, the context in which they occur and how individual and collective actions interact within households or communities needs to be taken into account. Ecosystems and agriculture offer many goods and services that are suitable for adaptation and the different landscape components should be analyzed together. Such historical, contextual, and integrated analyses would better inform new policies and projects for adaptation to climate change. WIREs Clim Change 2016, 7:666–681. doi: 10.1002/wcc.411

Geographical distribution of the research sites of the reviewed papers (the number of papers reviewed per country are shown inside or next to the red circles).
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Simple conceptual framework for classifying the topics covered in the reviewed papers and the frequency of the topics in the reviewed papers (the numbers indicate how many papers treated a given topic, the lengths of the bars are proportional to these numbers).
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The two conceptual frameworks used in this review (left: IPCC vulnerability framework; right: DPSIR framework) and the definition of vulnerability components.
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Climate and Development > Sustainability and Human Well-being
Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change > Learning from Cases and Analogies

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