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Human Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 147–157 | Cite as

‘The Tides Rhyme with the Moon’: The Impacts of Knowledge Transmission and Strong Spring Tides on Rice Farming in Guinea-Bissau

  • Joana Sousa
  • Ana Luísa Luz
Article

Abstract

Mangrove rice farmers in Guinea-Bissau are facing climatic changes (i.e., seawater flooding and decreasing rainfall) that threaten their livelihood. In addition, cultural transformations (e.g., abandonment of bush initiations) have affected inter-generational knowledge exchange and elders’ control over youth. Our ethnographic research documents the construction of a dam in a village in southern Guinea-Bissau to protect rice farms from seawater flooding. In a struggle for increased access to land, the youth of the village formed an association to ensure the availability of labor and promote knowledge exchange. Inter-village expert knowledge of mangrove rice farming is disseminated through networks of reciprocity that exist alongside village, household, and age-based knowledge transmission. Farmers’ capacity to experiment with technological solutions and expand the connections in regional knowledge networks is crucial to ongoing adaptation. Multidimensional rural development strategies are of importance to respond to changing climatic and socio-cultural conditions.

Keywords

Knowledge Technology Climate change Spring tides Mangrove rice Guinea-Bissau 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are deeply thankful to the people in Guinea-Bissau who welcomed us, received us in their homes, and were keen to take part in our interviews. We are also thankful to Margaux Dauby, Gonçalo dos Santos, and Miguel Carmo who commented on this manuscript. Thanks are due to Liam Carney for the English revision, comments, and proofreading. We also acknowledge the two anonymous reviewers who commented on the manuscript. This work was supported by the Foundation for Science and Technology (Portugal) under the grant SFRH/BD/45109/2008 and Future Agricultures Consortium.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Uni Carl Vogt, Université de Genève, Faculté des Sciences de la Société, Département de Géographie et EnvironnementGenève 4Switzerland
  2. 2.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversidade Lusófona da GuinéBissauGuinea-Bissau
  3. 3.Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de LisboaCentro Interdisciplinar de Ciências Sociais – CICS.NOVALisbonPortugal

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