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Assessing Gendered Climate Vulnerabilities in Community Based Conservation Areas of Southern Africa

Authors: Andrea Clement*, Geography Department, University of Colorado Boulder, GUGG 110, 260 UCB Boulder, CO 80309-0260, USA, Michael D Drake, Environmental Studies Program, Sustainability, Energy and Environment Community, University of Colorado Boulder, 4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder, Colorado 80303, USA, Karen Bailey, Environmental Studies Program, Sustainability, Energy and Environment Community, University of Colorado Boulder, 4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder, Colorado 80303, USA, Jonathan Salerno, Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Campus Box 1480, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA, Lin Cassidy, Okavango Research Institute, University of Botswana, P/Bag 285, Maun, Botswana, Andrea E. Gaughan, Department of Geography and Geosciences, Lutz Hall, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky 40292, Narcissa G. Pricope, Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 601 South College Road, Wilmington, North Carolina, 28403, USA, Joel Hartter, Environmental Studies Program, Sustainability, Energy and Environment Community, University of Colorado Boulder, 4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder, Colorado 80303, USA
Topics: Gender, Natural Resources, Africa
Keywords: gender, climate change, community based conservation, natural resource reliance, Southern Africa, livelihood diversification
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In Southern Africa, rural households are exposed to extreme climate events, which threaten the natural resources and agricultural yields that support livelihoods. This vulnerability may be compounded in female-headed households, due to fewer opportunities for cash income and greater reliance on natural resources. Our research addresses the existence of gender-based differences in vulnerability in community-based conservation areas (CBC’s), which seek to promote human livelihoods while preserving environmental and natural resources. We conducted 720 household livelihood surveys in Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia to evaluate household natural resource use, cash income, material wealth, and demographic factors. Using these data, natural resource reliance was compared between male and female headed households with controls for household wealth, number of dependents, education, and ethnic group. The results of this study will be used to identify which households are most reliant on natural resources, and thereby vulnerable to climate shocks, and the potential role of CBC’s in mitigating these recurrent shocks. This study aims to deepen our understanding of the relationship between gender and climate, to identify vulnerable populations within our studied communities, and to provide insight on how policy can be used to promote climate justice in rural areas.

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