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Pastoralism may have delayed the end of the green Sahara

Brierley, C; Manning, K; Maslin, M; (2018) Pastoralism may have delayed the end of the green Sahara. Nature Communications , 9 , Article 4018. 10.1038/s41467-018-06321-y. Green open access

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Abstract

The climate deterioration after the most recent African humid period (AHP) is a notable past example of desertification. Evidence points to a human population expansion in northern Africa prior to this, associated with the introduction of pastoralism. Here we consider the role, if any, of this population on the subsequent ecological collapse. Using a climate-vegetation model, we estimate the natural length of the most recent AHP. The model indicates that the system was most susceptible to collapse between 7 and 6 ka; at least 500 years before the observed collapse. This suggests that the inclusion of increasing elements of pastoralism was an effective adaptation to the regional environmental changes. Pastoralism also appears to have slowed the deterioration caused by orbitally-driven climate change. This supports the view that modern pastoralism is not only sustainable, but beneficial for the management of the world's dryland environments.

Type: Article
Title: Pastoralism may have delayed the end of the green Sahara
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06321-y
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-06321-y
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058129
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