Environmental change and livelihood strategies: The case of Lake Chad

Martin Evans, Yasir Mohieldeen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


The sudden expansion of Lake Chad in late 1999 had negative consequences for certain lakeshore populations. However, this event had relatively recent precedents. The context of high rainfall variability in the Chad Basin, and the resulting continuous changes in the level of the Lake throughout history and prehistory, are used here to illustrate the nonequilibrium condition. Such environmental change is in turn shown to engender adaptive livelihood strategies in the region, including multiple incomes (from fishing, farming, trade and other activities) and mobility, both seasonal and in relation to longer-term patterns of settlement. These local strategies are contrasted with larger governmental and multilateral projects, which have failed in the past due to lack of appreciation of the nonequilibrium setting. This article describes Lake Chad's recent recession and transgression using satellite imagery, relates them to past changes, and discusses how people cope in such an environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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