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Development aid to water management in Mali: the actors, ‘global’ paradigms, and ‘local’ translations
Cherlet, Jan
Afrika Focus , 2012,
Abstract: The four empirical articles experiment with different theoretical concepts to present the data. Starting with a genealogical description of the Capacity Building paradigm in the first empirical article, the theorizing subsequently demonstrates that this paradigm gets translated in numerous ways. The third empirical article shows the importance of individual agency in the implementation of the IWRM paradigm, and the last relies on full-blown Actor-Network Theory to describe the network – widespread in time and space – that supports the IWRM paradigm. Although each theoretical perspective emphasizes different aspects of the data, Actor-Network Theory turns out to be the most apt tool to describe the eclectic set of data that was obtained from multi-sited ethnography, interviews, focus group discussions and documents. Regarding the research questions, the data shows that neither the Capacity Building nor the IWRM paradigm shift happened overnight; they have a long line of descent. More importantly, they needed the unrelenting work of a small number of dedicated individuals to become hegemonic and they continue to require a strong network of actors to remain so. Moreover, these paradigms are no monolithic entities; neither is their implementation. No ‘gap’ between paradigm and implementation is observed, but only a vast network of actors who collectively adhere to the paradigm and who, depending on their position in the network, interpret the paradigm differently. All actors implant their own interests in their interpretation of the paradigm (the actors ‘translate’ their interests), regardless of whether they constitute the donor, a mediator, or the aid recipient. These translations are necessary to cement and reproduce the network: actors enroll each other in the network by translating interests. The strength of a novel development paradigm depends on the strength of the network and the translations. The limitations of the reported research are obvious: it is based on a small selection of paradigms from only one aid sector. The results might not be generalizable. Moreover, the research focused on paradigms that were said to be working; no data was collected on the demise or failure of development paradigms. The latter could be the topic of future research.
Global Biogeographical Pattern of Ecosystem Functional Types Derived From Earth Observation Data
Eva Ivits,Michael Cherlet,Stephanie Horion,Rasmus Fensholt
Remote Sensing , 2013, DOI: 10.3390/rs5073305
Abstract: The present study classified global Ecosystem Functional Types (EFTs) derived from seasonal vegetation dynamics of the GIMMS3g NDVI time-series. Rotated Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was run on the derived phenological and productivity variables, which selected the Standing Biomass (approximation of Net Primary Productivity), the Cyclic Fraction (seasonal vegetation productivity), the Permanent Fraction (permanent surface vegetation), the Maximum Day (day of maximum vegetation development) and the Season Length (length of vegetation growing season) variables, describing 98% of the variation in global ecosystems. EFTs were created based on Isodata classification of the spatial patterns of the Principal Components and were interpreted via gradient analysis using the selected remote sensing variables and climatic constraints (radiation, temperature, and water) of vegetation growth. The association of the EFTs with existing climate and land cover classifications was demonstrated via Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA). The ordination indicated good description of the global environmental gradient by the EFTs, supporting the understanding of phenological and productivity dynamics of global ecosystems. Climatic constraints of vegetation growth explained 50% of variation in the phenological data along the EFTs showing that part of the variation in the global phenological gradient is not climate related but is unique to the Earth Observation derived variables. DCA demonstrated good correspondence of the EFTs to global climate and also to land use classification. The results show the great potential of Earth Observation derived parameters for the quantification of ecosystem functional dynamics and for providing reference status information for future assessments of ecosystem changes.
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