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Revisiting socio-ecological resilience and sustainability in the coupled mountain landscapes in Eastern Africa

Bamutaze, Yazidhi
Current opinion in environmental sustainability 2015 v.14 pp. 257-265
case studies, environmental impact, humans, issues and policy, land degradation, landscape management, landscapes, landslides, population density, soil erosion, Eastern Africa
A prevailing classical narrative avers that mountain landscapes in Sub-Saharan Africa are highly degraded and are natural hazard hotspots. Soil erosion processes and a range of natural hazards particularly landslides that transpire in mountain landscapes have been invoked in support of the unsustainable and non-resilient paradigm. This narrative currently constitutes the major knowledge base informing the scientific discourse, policy options and landscape interventions. Implicating population as the major underpinning for land degradation and natural hazards, this narrative linearly conceives human environmental interactions as retrogressively tilted. This paper based on case studies and literature synthesis contends that, whilst soil erosion and natural hazard processes are more prominent in mountain landscapes, the conceptualized high level land degradation might be more spatially random than systematic while the propounded ecological impact and productivity impact may be suboptimal. Similarly it proffers that high population density in mountain landscape un-linearly contributes as much to land degradation processes as it does also to sustainable landscape management.