A livelihood perspective on natural resource management and environmental change in semiarid Tanzania
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The aim of this paper is to explore how social relations influence land use and natural resource management at the local level. Through empirical analysis that tracks changes in land use and environment over 40 years, we present evidence of a process of agrarianization based on commercialization of crops and expansion of cultivated land. With the concept of livelihood strategies as an analytical framework, subcommunity processes are analyzed for their impact on intensification and degradation. Accumulating strategies are linked to expansion, commercial crop production, and selective intensification through high-value inputs, while at the other end of the scale, peasant-labor households endure exhausted or marginal potential land resources combined with lack of flexibility in input consumption. The article shows how degradation and intensification occur simultaneously and how incomes may increase even during processes of land degradation. We argue that a livelihood approach can be useful in uncovering and explaining these processes.