Rowhani, P; Degomme, O; Guha-Sapir, D; Lambin, EF (2011). Malnutrition and conflict in East Africa: the impacts of resource variability on human security. CLIMATIC CHANGE, 105(2-Jan), 207-222.
Changes in climate, along with anthropogenic pressures, impact vegetation productivity and related ecosystem services on which human security relies. The impacts of these climate changes on society will be experienced both through changes in mean conditions over long time periods and through increases in extreme events. Uncertainties remain on how short-term changes in ecosystems influence human security. Most studies analyzing the relationship between human security and climate are at the country level, ignoring fine-grained spatial heterogeneity in local climatic and socio-economic conditions. Here, we used detailed spatio-temporal information extracted from wide-swath satellite data (MODIS) to examine the impact of interannual variability in ecosystems on malnutrition and armed conflict in East Africa while controlling for other natural and socio-economic factors. The analysis was performed at a subnational and village scales. At the regional level, ecosystem variability was associated with malnutrition. This relationship was not statistically significant at the village level. At both levels of analysis, our results indicated that armed conflicts were more likely in regions with more vegetation. Results suggested that, in East Africa, increased levels of malnutrition were related to armed conflicts. They also showed the importance, in low-income countries, of local economic activity and accessibility to reduce the likelihood of malnutrition and insecurity.