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Institutional challenges to robustness of delta and floodplain agricultural systems
Sandberg, A. (2010). Institutional challenges to robustness of delta and floodplain agricultural systems, in: McFadden, L. (Ed.) Coastal hazards and vulnerability. Environmental Hazards, 9(3 - Special Issue): pp. 284-300
In: McFadden, L. (Ed.) (2010). Coastal hazards and vulnerability. Environmental Hazards, 9(3 - Special Issue). Earthscan: London. ISBN 978-1-84971-211-8. 217-318 pp., more
In: Environmental Hazards. Earthscan: Amsterdam, Netherlands. ISSN 1747-7891, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

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  • Sandberg, A.

Abstract
    The farming of natural coastal deltas and floodplains was in many parts of the world the cradle of civilization. Through history the transformation of risky floodplain systems into socially controlled environments was the result of an intricate interplay between ecology, demography, religion, social organization and technology of the time. After the harnessing of most large tropical rivers, there are in our time few natural deltas and floodplains left to study in the warm regions of the world. One such floodplain is the Rufiji coastal delta and floodplain in Tanzania. Here an artificial irrigation culture has not been developed, but a robust risk-minimizing system based on rice, maize, cotton and peas has evolved for delta and floodplain agriculture. Through the Arab, German and British colonization, attempts were made to `modernize' this agricultural system, resulting in new crops and varieties being incorporated into the system in a way that made it even more robust. This study explains the genesis of this as a socio-ecological system, that is, an interaction of resource systems, resource units, governance and users. It analyses some fundamental challenges to this agricultural system during the last 100 years: the removal of the floodplain population to `safe ujamaa villages', the recurring large infrastructure development initiatives and the modern institutional challenges such as individualized tenure, urban food market expansion, coastal and marine conservation, and the recent development of `land-grabbing' practices.

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