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Averting a “tragedy of the commons” in Maasai land: Exploring predictors of communal land degradation and developing pathways to change in Northern Tanzania

Principal Investigator:

Dr Anna Rabinovich, Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter

Biography:

Anna Rabinovich is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology in the University of Exeter. She holds a BSc/MSc degree from the Belarusian State University, and a PhD from the University of Exeter. After completing her PhD, Anna was awarded a Great Western Research postdoctoral fellowship to investigate social psychological pathways towards promoting sustainable behaviour. In 2010 she was offered a lectureship in the University of Exeter.

Anna’s current research interests include behaviour change, group processes, communication, environmental sustainability, and social cohesion. Her specific focus is behaviour change that leads to adoption of environmentally sustainable practices. She is also conducting work on building resilience through enhancing community cohesion in challenging environments. Anna has published extensively in leading social psychology peer-review journals, and has a record of securing funding from ESRC, GCRF, NERC, and BA. She is involved in a number of interdisciplinary projects and has a strong interest in impactful research.

Abstract:

Extensive land degradation presents a critical threat to society welfare in many East African countries. Vital livelihood-providing ecological systems have been brought to a tipping point by soil erosion, undermining food security and thwarting economic development of pastoralist communities. One factor that severely exacerbates the rates of land degradation is the so called “tragedy of the commons”– a lack of concern for communally shared land and consequent use of suboptimal land management practices. Using an interdisciplinary approach, with the present project we aim to address this dilemma in one of the strongly affected countries – Tanzania. We will collect evidence of communal land degradation and develop an evidence-based model that brings together physical and socio-psychological determinants of erosion on communal land. We will then conduct a stakeholder engagement workshop to facilitate exchange between local and academic knowledge, enhance public understanding of the problem, and provide space for developing community-owned solutions.

Project Information:

Extensive land degradation presents a critical threat to society welfare in many East African countries. Vital livelihood-providing ecological systems have been brought to a tipping point by soil erosion, undermining food security and thwarting economic development of pastoralist communities. One factor that severely exacerbates the rates of land degradation is the so called “tragedy of the commons”– a lack of concern for communally shared land and consequent use of suboptimal land management practices. Using an interdisciplinary approach, with the present project we aim to address this dilemma in one of the strongly affected countries – Tanzania. We will collect evidence of communal land degradation and develop an evidence-based model that brings together physical and socio-psychological determinants of erosion on communal land. We will then conduct a stakeholder engagement workshop to facilitate exchange between local and academic knowledge, enhance public understanding of the problem, and provide space for developing community-owned solutions.

 

 

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