Perceptions of a continuing crisis in managing Sahelian resources are rooted in five dimensions of the Sahel Drought of 1972-1974 as it was understood at the time: crises in rainfall (drought), food supply, livestock management, environmental degradation, and household coping capabilities. A closer examination of household livelihood and farming systems shows that adaptive strategies have been evolved in response to each of these imperatives. Illustrations are provided from recent research in north-east Nigeria. A systematic understanding of indigenous adaptive capabilities can provide a basis for policies enabling a reduction of dependency on aid assistance in the Sahel. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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