Africa emits the lowest amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the global GHG budget. However, the continent remains the most vulnerable continent to the effects of climate change. The agricultural sector in Africa is among the most vulnerable sectors to climate change. Also, as a dominant agricultural sector, African agriculture is increasingly contributing to climate change through GHG emissions. Research has so far focused on the effects of GHG emissions on the agricultural and other sectors with very little emphasis on monitoring and quantifying the spatial distribution of GHG emissions from agricultural land in Africa. This study develops a new index; African Agricultural Land Greenhouse Gas Index (AALGGI), that uses scores and specific scale ranges for carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) to map the spatial variations in regional GHG emissions across Africa. The data for the three main GHG (CO2, CH4, and N20) were downloaded from FAOSTAT. The data were analyzed through the newly developed African Agricultural Land Greenhouse Gas Index (AALGGI). This is an empirical index with scores ranging from 0-to 10; with higher values indicating higher levels of emissions. The results show that Southern and North African regions have the lowest amounts of agricultural land GHG emissions, with an AALGGI of 3.5 and 4.5, respectively. East Africa records the highest levels of GHG emissions, with an AALGGI of 8 followed by West Africa with an AALGGI of 7.5. With the continental mean or baseline AALGGI being 5.8, East and Middle Africa are above the mean AALGGI. These results underscore the fact that though Africa, in general, is not a heavy emitter of GHGs, African agricultural lands are increasingly emitting more GHGs into the global GHG budget. The low AALGGI in the more developed parts of Africa such as Southern and North Africa is explained by their domination in other GHG emitting sectors such as industrialisation, and energy. The high rates of emissions in East Africa and Middle Africa are mainly linked to intensive traditional farming practices/processes and deforestation. These findings underscore the importance of further leveraging climate change mitigation actions and policy in Africa but most importantly the co-benefits of mitigation and adaptations in the most vulnerable regions.
This study assesses climate-related risks, vulnerabilities and adaptation measures of 140 randomly selected farm households across four agricultural zones on Mahe, the largest of the Seychelles islands. Applying the composite index approach, which is based on twenty-five indicators, this study measures the three dimensions of vulnerability: exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. Perceptions of climate-related risks and adaptation actions implemented by farm households were analyzed using descriptive statistics in the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), version 20. The majority of farmers indicated that winter temperatures (70.8%), strong winds (64.3%) and frequency of drought episodes (56.4%) have increased during the last 10 to 20 years, including severe damage on crops and farmlands caused by pest and soil erosion (61.4%). While farmers in the four agricultural zones face similar vulnerabilities across the three components, the level of intensity showed some variation. For example, farmers in agricultural zone West 1 were more exposed and vulnerable to temperature variability and saltwater intrusion, while those in the North agricultural zone suffered from rainfall variability and frequency of windstorms. Farmers in the North had greater adaptive capacity even though this group of farmers had the least access to fertilizers and pesticides. Crop diversification, changing of planting dates, planting of trees and lemon grass, use of shade houses for pest control and the development of agro-silvo-pastoral systems were identified as farm-level adaptation measures. However, land tenure issues, lack of finance, limited farm resources, insufficient information, etc. were identified as obstacles to effective adaptation among farm households. Addressing these constraints through a holistic approach has the potential to improve farm-level adaptation.
The influence of growing season rainfall on agricultural production is indisputable. In Morocco, the production of crops such as barley, maize, and wheat is impacted by growing season rainfall. Due to persistent gaps in growing season rainfall and other drivers of crop yield, crops have experienced observed yields that are often below projected or potential yields. However, there are currently no studies that have quantified these gaps in yield and growing season rainfall in Morocco. To achieve this objective, time-series crop yield for all three crops and growing season rainfall data for the period 1991–2020 were collected from FAOSTAT and the World Bank climate portal, respectively. Growing season rainfall and crop yield data for the spatial variations were culled from System National de Suivi Agrometeorologique (GCMS) and the yield gaps atlas, respectively, for the same historical period. The data were subjected to bias correction to handle uncertainty. The projected/simulated crop yields and growing season rainfall were computed by regression analysis. Crop yield and growing season rainfall gaps were determined by establishing the difference between the projected and observed crop yields and rainfall data. The results show that observed and simulated wheat have a stronger relationship when compared to the other crops. Also, most years with crop yield gaps are associated with growing season rainfall gaps. Wheat records the lowest number of years with yield gaps and the highest number of years with growing season rainfall gaps during the entire data series. Therefore, even though yield gaps are strongly tied to growing season rainfall gaps, it is not the case for wheat, and therefore other drivers might be important because wheat has the lowest number of years with crop yield gaps and the highest number of years with growing season rainfall gaps. Spatially, yield and growing season rainfall gaps decline with increased latitude. The broader perspective and policy implication here is that a better understanding of yield and growing season rainfall gaps mandates an understanding of growing season rainfall and other drivers of yield. As a way forward, potential research should focus on identifying the drivers of yield gaps, sub-national experimentation at the plot level as well as on closing yield gaps through water and nutrient management.
Agriculture is an important sector of the Moroccan economy, employing a huge portion of the Moroccan population and contributing about 14-20% to the country's GDP. Unfortunately, agricultural production in Morocco is impacted by climatic, non-climatic, biophysical, and non-biophysical stressors. Researchers have employed various crop models to understand how different crops respond to different environmental conditions such as temperature , precipitation, soil properties, fertilization, and irrigation. Unfortunately, there are no studies that provide a summary and a holistic perspective of the most frequently used models and their calibration inputs in Mo-rocco. This work, therefore, seeks to fill these knowledge gaps by providing a summary of the most calibrated crop models, their calibration input data, the most frequently studied crops, how the studies are published (peer-review or grey literature), and the affiliations of the lead authors. This is achieved through a systematic review of the primary peer review and grey literature. A total of 68 relevant peer review and grey literature papers were considered. The results show that most of the authors are affiliated with Moroccan universities/organizations while wheat is the most studied crop. In addition, the AQUACROP and the regression-based models are the most used crop models. Additionally, most of the models are calibrated in order of importance with variables such as temperature, precipitation, soil properties, irrigation, and fertilizers. On the other hand, there is an observed increase in the use of non-climatic indicators such as poverty, farm income, and literacy levels to fit empirical models. It is still unclear how process-based models will integrate socioeconomic indicators. This work has implications for future research as it provides a holistic picture of the key models that are currently used and their calibration. This information can be used by other projects to select methods to use, and crops to study based on the available data when working on crop models in Morocco, and North Africa. These results underscore the leading role in research funding offered by the government of Morocco and other organizations such as UM6P and OCP Africa in research valorization in Morocco and Africa.
The blue economy has roots in the international arena of sustainable development and sets out to unlock opportunities for economy and society whilst protecting and enhancing marine environments. To date there has been no analysis of how this overarching intention for sustainability has influenced the rapid development of blue economy policies at national and regional scales. In this article, we analyse the synergies and conflicts between blue economy policies from a diversity of national and regional policies and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We show that to maintain critical alignment with targets for sustainability, place-based contextual development of blue economies that meet the needs of all actors is necessary. These needs relate to ensuring resilience against future environmental and political shocks, the maintenance of the ecological basis for thriving blue economies, and capacity development at all levels to support effective and equitable governance. Results indicate that co-production will be important to achieve sustainable blue economies.
Mainstreaming climate adaptation objectives into existing policies and practices, as opposed to developing new or dedicated adaptation policies has several advantages for achieving sustainable change. Based on in-depth analysis of 31 strategic policy documents together with 34 stakeholder interviews, this article addresses the following questions across six sectors as follows: (i) to what extent has climate adaptation been mainstreamed into sectoral policies; (ii) what are the constraints impeding adaptation mainstreaming; (iii) what steps are needed to address inherent constraints/obstacles in order to facilitate adaptation mainstreaming across sectoral policies in Seychelles. While significant progress has been made in mainstreaming climate adaptation into the agriculture, water and energy sectors, little progress seems to have occurred in the Blue Economy, forestry, and health sectors. The lack of progress in these sectors can be attributed to the absence of national policies and or lack of add-ons on adaptation projects in these sectors. For example, mainstreaming climate adaptation into sector policies and strategies have occurred on an ad hoc basis through different projects. Stakeholder further indicated that there are still many obstacles such as the lack of human and financial resources that need to be addressed to enhance climate adaptation mainstreaming especially in the health, agriculture and BE sectors. Further, sectoral objectives were given greater priorities when compared to adaptation objectives especially for sectors whose mandate were not directly linked to climate change. In fact, the issue of coordination and corporation not just among government entities, but also between the government and private sectors was highlighted another barrier. Strategies for improvement include long-term climate impact studies, better public-private partnership, building on existing adaptation projects, ensure consistency in policy, and enhance access to resources – human, technical and financial. Lastly, adaptation mainstreaming is a process that should institutionalized across sector to promote sustainable growth.
Climate-induced mass bleaching events are one of the greatest threats to coral reefs, causing widespread loss of coral cover. Drivers of recovery and adaptation for coral reefs in the face of repeated large-scale disturbances are unclear, with marked differences across geographies. Using a monitoring dataset lasting from 2005 to 2018, we documented the response of coral reefs of northwest Mahé in the granitic Seychelles islands following the 1998 and 2016 mass bleaching events. We analysed trends in coral cover, coral community composition and key fish trophic group densities for 24 sites. Coral cover increased almost fourfold from 2005 to 2015 with 42.1% mean coral cover in 2015, highlighting a recovery from the 1998 bleaching event dominated by Acropora growth forms. Impacts of the 2016 bleaching event were less acute than the 1998 one. However, following the 2016 bleaching event, coral cover significantly decreased to 16.1% mean cover in 2017, marked by a sharp decrease of Acropora corals and branching growth forms. Corallivorous, herbivorous and piscivorous fish densities were positively correlated with coral cover from 2005 to 2016. These findings highlight the dominant role of Acropora in recovery from mass coral bleaching events. It also shows the importance of time-series datasets in understanding coral recovery dynamics and their use in an integrated management approach to building reef resilience.
The Seychelles granitic islands have been small, mid-oceanic, equatorial, mountainous and moist islands for at least 50 million years, with an uninterrupted vegetation cover since their separation from Gondwana. Therefore, unlike hotspot oceanic islands that drastically vary in environmental heterogeneity according to their age, the Seychelles can provide observational data where evolutionary time is de-correlated from habitat heterogeneity. In this paper, we aim to describe for the first time its most widespread, least known, and most threatened ecosystem type: the lowland rain forest. Surprisingly, this had never been done before and the reason is simply that only 6.5 % of those forests have survived untouched by the 2.5 centuries of human presence on these islands. We set six permanent vegetation plots within the largest (ca. 50 ha) and best-preserved relict of this forest, plus four permanent plots in a nearby site (1 km away) that is ecologically homologous but has been intensively modified, abandoned for the last 40 years and which is now a structurally mature late secondary forest. Each plot covered 500 m² and all vascular plants were inventoried in a series of subplots corresponding to different strata. Within the 0.5 ha of surveyed forest, we observed 35 native species (17 canopy/under-canopy trees, 8 shrubs or small understorey trees, and 10 herbs), of which 11 are endemic (31 %). All plots within the natural forest site were floristically and structurally very similar. Their flora (within just 500 m²) represented about 87 to 92 % of the total flora of the Seychelles lowland mesic forests (defined as an ecological group). In addition, the three most dominant under-canopy trees corresponded to paleo-endemic species having the particularity to be both climax and pioneer trees, which is very unusual. Our study also shows that exotic species were hardly present in undisturbed natural forests but, in disturbed forests, on the other hand, native species were re-colonizing so-called novel ecosystems. Based on these results, we present a list of native species which are appropriate for restoration programs in the Seychelles lowland rain forests, including one that was previously considered as an exotic invasive but which could greatly improve restoration work. Finally, our study sets the basis for long term monitoring of natural ecosystem resilience to invasions on the one hand, and biotic novelty of novel ecosystems on the other.
Abstract Background: Over the past few years, the incidence and prevalence of stroke has been rising in most African countries and has been reported as one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. To study this problem, we need to realize the quality and availability of stroke care services as a priori to improve them. Methods and Results: In this study, we investigated the availability of different stroke-related services in 17 countries from different African regions. An online survey was conducted and fulfilled by stroke specialists and included primary prevention, acute management, diagnostic tools, medications, postdischarge services, and stroke registries. The results showed that although medications for secondary prevention are available, yet many other services are lacking in various countries. Conclusion: This study displays the deficient aspects of stroke services in African countries as a preliminary step toward active corrective procedures for the improvement of stroke-related health services.
How will organisms cope when forced into warmer-than-preferred thermal environments? This is a key question facing our ability to monitor and manage biota as average annual temperatures increase, and is of particular concern for range-limited terrestrial species unable to track their preferred climatic envelope. Being ectothermic, desiccation prone, and often spatially restricted, island-inhabiting tropical amphibians exemplify this scenario. Pre-Anthropocene case studies of how insular amphibian populations responded to the enforced occupation of warmer-than-ancestral habitats may add a valuable, but currently lacking, perspective. We studied a population of frogs from the Seychelles endemic family Sooglossidae which, due to historic sea-level rise, have been forced to occupy a significantly warmer island (Praslin) than their ancestors and close living relatives. Evidence from thermal activity patterns, bioacoustics, body size distributions, and ancestral state estimations suggest that this population shifted its thermal niche in response to restricted opportunities for elevational dispersal. Relative to conspecifics, Praslin sooglossids also have divergent nuclear genotypes and call characters, a finding consistent with adaptation causing speciation in a novel thermal environment. Using an evolutionary perspective, our study reveals that some tropical amphibians have survived episodes of historic warming without the aid of dispersal and therefore may have the capacity to adapt to the currently warming climate. However, two otherwise co-distributed sooglossid species are absent from Praslin, and the deep evolutionary divergence between the frogs on Praslin and their closest extant relatives (~8 million years) may have allowed for gradual thermal adaptation and speciation. Thus, local extinction is still a likely outcome for tropical frogs experiencing warming climates in the absence of dispersal corridors to thermal refugia.
The ocean, which regulates climate and supports vital ecosystem services, is crucial to our Earth system and livelihoods. Yet, it is threatened by anthropogenic pressures and climate change. A healthy ocean that supports a sustainable ocean economy requires adequate financing vehicles that generate, invest, align, and account for financial capital to achieve sustained ocean health and governance. However, the current finance gap is large; we identify key barriers to financing a sustainable ocean economy and suggest how to mitigate them, to incentivize the kind of public and private investments needed for topnotch science and management in support of a sustainable ocean economy.
Background The Global Initiative for Children's Surgery (GICS) group produced the Optimal Resources for Children’s Surgery (OReCS) document in 2019, listing standards of children’s surgical care by level of healthcare facilities within low resource settings. We have previously created and piloted an audit tool based on the OReCS criteria in a high-income setting. In this study, we aimed to validate its use in identifying gaps in children’s surgery provision worldwide. Methods Our OReCS audit tool was implemented in 10 hospitals providing children’s surgery across eight countries. Collaborators were recruited via the Oxford Paediatrics Linking Our Research with Electives (OxPLORE) international network of medical students and trainees. The audit tool measured a hospital’s current capacity for children’s surgery. Data were analysed firstly to express the percentage of ‘essential’ criteria met for each specialty. Secondly, the ‘OxPLORE method’ was used to allocate each hospital specialty a level based on procedures performed and resources available. A User Evaluation Tool (UET) was developed to obtain feedback on the ease of use of the tool. Results The percentage of essential criteria met within each category varied widely between hospitals. The level given to hospitals for subspecialties based on OReCS criteria often did not reflect their self-defined level. The UET indicated the audit tool was practicable across multiple settings. Conclusions We recommend the use of the OReCS criteria to identify areas for local hospital improvement and inform national children’s surgical plans. We have made informed suggestions to increase usability of the OReCS audit tool.
While climate shocks and stressors are not unique to developing countries, their impacts are expected to be most acute here due to limitations in the assets and infrastructure required for adaptation. This study assesses the vulnerability of fishery-based livelihoods to the impacts of climate variability and change across two major islands in Seychelles based on 80 household surveys and three shared dialogue workshops (SDWs) with small-scale fishers. Results showed that the percentage of fishers’ households that depend mainly on fisheries as a source of income was 95% and 97% for Mahe and Praslin respectively with alternative income streams along the fishing value chain such as transportation, fish mongers and processor. Fishers on Mahe Island had a dependency ratio index that was slightly higher than those on Praslin. Overall, fishing households on Mahe showed greater vulnerability on socio-demographic profile index compared to their counterparts on Praslin. However, greater livelihood diversification was recorded for householders on Mahe than Praslin as fishers earned income from tourism-related activities such as guest house, car rental, boat ride, and sales of coconuts as mentioned during the SDWs. Fishers on Mahe struggled to find fish for 3 months during the southeast monsoon season compared to 2 months for those on Praslin given that access is granted to fish in the lagoon during this season. More importantly, the voluntary closure of some fishing zones between the months of November to April on Praslin is a sustainability strategy that witnessed an increase in size and number for both rabbit and parrotfish. Further studies are needed in two key areas as follows: the role of subsidies and sustainable fisheries management, and a value-chain approach to vulnerability of small-scale fishers within the fishery sector in Seychelles.
Forest landscape restoration (FLR) is gaining ground as a novel, holistic approach to sustainable environmental management across developing countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, 30 countries have joined the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative to advance FLR goals. Although conceptually compelling, and despite efforts articulating initial implementation guidelines, divergent discourses and interpretations confound FLR translation into practice. We propose a characterization of FLR in practice using insights from political ecology; principles of ecological restoration and landscape sustainability science; and the philosophy, principles, and objectives of the FLR paradigm. Our qualitative analysis further draws on secondary data and insights from participant observation during FLR-related workshops. We build and organize the FLR characterization around answers to ten questions: why restoration; what purpose; for what desired outcomes; where (location and land uses); what spatial extent and scale(s); who; which techniques; how (approach/strategy); when and how long; and how much to achieve. We then assess early FLR strategic priorities for interventions across nine African countries and analyze five selected actual projects to illustrate use of the proposed FLR characterization framework. The illustrative characterization of both planned interventions and actual projects does not reflect all the proposed characteristics of FLR in practice. Missing features include the initial biophysical condition, the desired target ecosystem state, and evaluation dimensions, and ill-articulated aspects include cross-sectoral integrations. We contend that any significant differences between FLR conceptualization, including its principles, and the practical manifestations can undermine coherence, the value that the FLR approach adds, and its wider adoption. The proposed characterization of FLR in practice contributes to scholarly attempts to realign FLR conceptual philosophy, principles, and rhetoric to its practical manifestations in different contexts, and can inform future design of FLR undertakings for more inclusive landscape governance.
Background: As the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia is increasing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), detailed evidence is urgently needed to guide the response of health systems to this epidemic. This study sought to quantify unmet need for hypercholesterolemia care among adults in 35 LMICs. Methods and findings: We pooled individual-level data from 129,040 respondents aged 15 years and older from 35 nationally representative surveys conducted between 2009 and 2018. Hypercholesterolemia care was quantified using cascade of care analyses in the pooled sample and by region, country income group, and country. Hypercholesterolemia was defined as (i) total cholesterol (TC) ≥240 mg/dL or self-reported lipid-lowering medication use and, alternatively, as (ii) low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) ≥160 mg/dL or self-reported lipid-lowering medication use. Stages of the care cascade for hypercholesterolemia were defined as follows: screened (prior to the survey), aware of diagnosis, treated (lifestyle advice and/or medication), and controlled (TC <200 mg/dL or LDL-C <130 mg/dL). We further estimated how age, sex, education, body mass index (BMI), current smoking, having diabetes, and having hypertension are associated with cascade progression using modified Poisson regression models with survey fixed effects. High TC prevalence was 7.1% (95% CI: 6.8% to 7.4%), and high LDL-C prevalence was 7.5% (95% CI: 7.1% to 7.9%). The cascade analysis showed that 43% (95% CI: 40% to 45%) of study participants with high TC and 47% (95% CI: 44% to 50%) with high LDL-C ever had their cholesterol measured prior to the survey. About 31% (95% CI: 29% to 33%) and 36% (95% CI: 33% to 38%) were aware of their diagnosis; 29% (95% CI: 28% to 31%) and 33% (95% CI: 31% to 36%) were treated; 7% (95% CI: 6% to 9%) and 19% (95% CI: 18% to 21%) were controlled. We found substantial heterogeneity in cascade performance across countries and higher performances in upper-middle-income countries and the Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, and Americas. Lipid screening was significantly associated with older age, female sex, higher education, higher BMI, comorbid diagnosis of diabetes, and comorbid diagnosis of hypertension. Awareness of diagnosis was significantly associated with older age, higher BMI, comorbid diagnosis of diabetes, and comorbid diagnosis of hypertension. Lastly, treatment of hypercholesterolemia was significantly associated with comorbid hypertension and diabetes, and control of lipid measures with comorbid diabetes. The main limitations of this study are a potential recall bias in self-reported information on received health services as well as diminished comparability due to varying survey years and varying lipid guideline application across country and clinical settings. Conclusions: Cascade performance was poor across all stages, indicating large unmet need for hypercholesterolemia care in this sample of LMICs-calling for greater policy and research attention toward this cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor and highlighting opportunities for improved prevention of CVD.
The Seychelles Magpie-Robin Copsychus sechellarum is an IUCN Red-List Endangered species endemic to the Seychelles, whose population was reduced to eight individuals on a single island in the 1960s. Translocations from the remaining population to four additional islands have been an integral factor in their recovery, but the potential genetic consequences of their translocation history have not previously been explored. We resequenced the genomes of 141 individuals sampled across the five current island populations, and analysed the data to characterise their population structure, as well as to explore suspected inbreeding. Overall very low levels of heterozygosity were observed, all coupled with long homozygous segments that suggest recent inbreeding, likely the consequence of a population bottleneck in the 1960s. Three of the four translocated populations displayed less genetic diversity than the founder population from which they were taken, a familiar pattern observed as a result of the evolutionary force of genetic drift following founder events. Furthermore, and perhaps surprising given the recent time since the new populations were established, population structure was observed within these same three populations. New awareness of inbreeding in the Seychelles Magpie-Robin populations, and continued genetic monitoring, will allow for genetically informed management decisions. This is particularly prudent in maximising the success of the future conservation translocation planned for this species.
Seabirds, particularly Procellariiformes, are highly mobile organisms with a great capacity for long dispersal, though simultaneously showing high philopatry, two conflicting life-history traits that may lead to contrasted patterns of genetic population structure. Landmasses were suggested to explain differentiation patterns observed in seabirds, but philopatry, isolation by distance, segregation between breeding and nonbreeding zones, and oceanographic conditions (sea surface temperatures) may also contribute to differentiation patterns. To our knowledge, no study has simultaneously contrasted the multiple factors contributing to the diversification of sea-bird species, especially in the gray zone of speciation. We conducted a multilocus phylogeographic study on a widespread seabird species complex, the little shearwa-ter complex, showing highly homogeneous morphology, which led to considerable taxonomic debate. We sequenced three mitochondrial and six nuclear markers on all extant populations from the Atlantic (lherminieri) and Indian Oceans (bailloni), that is, five nominal lineages from 13 populations, along with one population from the eastern Pacific Ocean (representing the dichrous lineage). We found sharp differentiation among populations separated by the African continent with both mitochondrial and nuclear markers, while only mitochondrial markers allowed characterizing the five nominal lineages. No differentiation could be detected within these five lineages, questioning the strong level of philopatry showed by these shearwaters. Finally, we propose that Atlantic populations likely originated from the Indian Ocean. Within the Atlantic, a stepping-stone process accounts for the current distribution. Based on our divergence time estimates, we suggest that the observed pattern of differentiation mostly resulted from historical and current variation in sea surface temperatures.
The Blue Economy (BE) concept has come to particular prominence for coastal Indian Ocean (IO) countries, as well as Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the region such as the Seychelles. Blue Economy entrepreneurship has emerged as a promising way to encourage sustainable economic growth. We developed an instrument for measuring Blue Economy entrepreneurship ecosystems (the network of resources and stakeholders that supports aspiring entrepreneurs). We applied this instrument to Seychelles, identifying local strengths and areas for improvement. This instrument has applicability beyond the Seychelles, and could be of further value for other countries hoping to encourage Blue Economy entrepreneurship.
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