Exploiting multi-scale cariability of land use systems to improve natural resource management in the Sudano-Sahelian Zone of West Africa (MUSCLUS)
van Duivenbooden, N.
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The impact of research on the agricultural development and sustainability of millet and sorghum based systems in the semi arid tropics of West Africa is low. One reason is the considerable variability of land use systems that occurs on different scales. Hence, appropriate recommendations for stakeholders at every scale need to be formulated. To do this, a joint project has been initiated between national agricultural research systems in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, with scientific support from various institutes in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The objectives of this project are to: (i) improve natural resource management by targeting technologies for specific environments and by the exploitation of multi-scale variability in the biophysical and socioeconomic conditions; (ii) formulate pragmatic recommendations on integrated natural resource management (NRM) for both regional level decision makers and farmers; and (iii) develop a methodology for 'up-scaling' research results obtained at a field level. The research approach includes four levels of scale: the household, village, district, and agroecological zone. After characterizing each scale, simulation and multi-criteria models linked to a geographical information system will be used to explore the niches of sustainable land use systems and examine development options to target technologies and interventions. The methodology and work plans of this project are presented in this report. (van Duivenbooden, N.)