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Poverty and Systems Research in the Drylands

In this paper we call for a holistic or systems approach to research linking natural resource management with livelihoods in the drylands, which is a departure from the sectoral or disciplinary frameworks which were formerly traditional in development practice. Research needs to situate natural resources, given the peculiar constraints of the drylands, within a framework of livelihood options, and locate points of entry for developmental initiatives. A series of projects carried out in dryland systems in the Nigerian Sahel in the 1990s suggested some critical targets for research. This paper reflects on this work in the broader context of natural resource management and rural livelihoods in the dryland regions of tropical Africa and South Asia.

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