Local Ecological Knowledge on Climate Prediction and Adaptation: Agriculture-Wildlife Interface Perspectives from Africa
Background: This study explores the role of local ecological knowledge (LEK) in climate change prediction and adaptation in Africa, including a case study of the Middle Zambezi Biosphere Reserve (MZBR), Zimbabwe. The study used both 228quantitative and qualitative methods to collect data that included household surveys, desktop reviews of published journal articles, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions (FGDs). The household surveys, key informant interviews, and FGDs focused on climate change prediction as well as biodiversity-related coping and adaptation strategies. Both the literature review and the case study indicated that local communities at the agriculture-wildlife interface rely on both ethnobotanical and ethnozoological knowledge, particularly ethnophenology to predict and cope with the changing climate. By observing the phenology of animal and plant species and abiotic indicators, local communities are able to predict climatic events.
Relevance: Ecosystem-based adaptation strategies such as water conservation and harvesting of wildlife resources for consumption have enabled local communities to develop resilience to climate change. Local communities harvest wildlife resources to avert food shortages during drought periods. There is therefore a need to promote sustainable utilization of wildlife resources during drought periods to avoid disappearance of the species under a changing climate. LEK plays a vital role in promoting climate change resilience within terrestrial socio-ecological systems and consequently sustainable rural livelihoods and conservation of wildlife resources.