1 1.Uganda Martyrs University, PO Box 5498 Kampala, Uganda 2.School of Agriculture, Lupane State University, Private Bag 170 Lupane, Zimbabwe.

2 1.Faculty of Agriculture, Uganda Martyrs University, PO Box 5498 Kampala, Uganda. 2. Faculty of Agriculture, Kyambogo University, PO Box 1 Kyambogo, Uganda

3 School of Environment and Development, Lupane State University, Lupane, Zimbabwe

4 1. Facuty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lupane State University, Private Bag 170 Lupane, Zimbabwe 2. Institute for the Future of Knowledge, University of Johannesburg, South Africa



Despite the existing literature on climate variability (CV) and land use change (LUC) impact assessments, understanding their effectiveness in semi-arid regions remains challenging. This review aims to assess the effectiveness of CV and LUC impact assessments in guiding adaptation options for smallholder farmers in semi-arid ecosystems and associated challenges and opportunities. We conducted a systematic literature review, primarily using Google Scholar, to examine the impact of LUC and CV in African semi-arid ecosystems. We employed VosViewer to analyze the relationships among the identified sources. Our findings reveal that current assessment approaches often fall short in capturing the intricate interactions within semi-arid ecosystems. These assessments frequently emphasize biophysical productivity, employ reductionist modeling methods, and neglect the social, economic, and adaptive aspects of these systems. Our review underscores the importance of integrating CV and LUC impact assessments. While a majority of studies concentrate on CV adaptation (26%), they often overlook the pivotal role of LUC and their interplay with climate impacts. Only a small fraction (2%) integrates CV and LUC in impact assessments. Assessing the benefits of CV and LUC impact assessments presents mixed results, particularly smallholders. While global and regional benefits are discernible, quantifying these advantages at the local smallholder level remains challenging due to diversified land use and small-scale operations. This highlights the need for localized studies addressing the specific challenges confronting smallholder farmers in semi-arid regions. To enhance assessments effectiveness, we recommend for more interdisciplinary research and the application of a complex systems approach, integrating GIS and remote sensing.



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