South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
SANGO, Ishumael and GODWELL, Nhamo. Climate change trends and environmental impacts in the Makonde Communal Lands, Zimbabwe. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2015, vol.111, n.7-8, pp. 1-6. ISSN 1996-7489. http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/SAJS.2015/20140266.
During the last century, climate has increasingly become variable and changeable, with significant deviations from the observed normal averages, which often leads to disruptive consequences to ecosystems and livelihoods. Climate change induced environmental challenges are viewed to be particularly severe to economically challenged tropical societies including the Zimbabwean rural communities. We sought to determine local level climate change trends and associated biophysical implications in the Makonde Communal Lands of Zimbabwe. Our findings suggest that there has been significant climate change in the Makonde Communal Lands since 1962. The climate change observed has induced the deterioration of ecosystem productivity, diversity and services, to the detriment of human livelihoods. We provide insights into how to better understand local level dynamics between climate change and local ecosystem goods and services as the basis of livelihood in marginalised rural communities. Among the key reasons for concern about impacts of anthropogenic activities on climate is the fact that changing climate has direct impacts on the biophysical world, which in turn is a vital asset for human livelihoods, economies and general well-being.
Keywords : climate change; biophysical impacts; ecosystem services; Makonde Communal Lands; Zimbabwe.