Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Changing women’s lives and livelihoods: Motorcycle taxis in rural Liberia and Sierra Leone
    Jenkins, Jack ; Mokuwa, Esther Yei ; Peters, Krijn ; Richards, Paul - \ 2020
    Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Transport 173 (2020)2. - ISSN 0965-092X - p. 132 - 143.
    Developing countries - Infrastructure planning - Unpaved roads

    In rural Liberia and Sierra Leone about half of motorcycle taxi passengers are female, with this proportion increasing on market days. However, all motorcycle taxi operators in rural areas are male. This study assessed if and how motorcycle taxis have contributed to the livelihoods of rural women and whether there is appetite among them to become operators themselves. Data were gathered through male and female focus group discussions, roadside traffic counts and operator and passenger surveys. The study was conducted in three districts in rural Sierra Leone and one rural county in Liberia. The Liberia field site was the location of a pioneering pilot project on upgrading footpaths to motorcycle-accessible tracks. This project, funded by a German development agency, aimed to connect remote villages to the feeder road network. Both men and women were involved in track construction and this study assessed whether the women’s involvement made them more likely to take up commercial motorcycle riding. Women nearly universally praised rural motorcycle taxis, indicating that they have made access to markets and (maternal) health much easier. However, while many expressed the desire to become operators themselves, they identified a number of barriers, the most significant being lack of friends or business persons willing to rent motorcycles to female operators.

    Rural populations exposed to Ebola Virus Disease respond positively to localised case handling: Evidence from Sierra Leone
    Mokuwa, Esther Yei ; Maat, Harro - \ 2020
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 14 (2020)1. - ISSN 1935-2727 - p. e0007666 - e0007666.

    At the height of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone in November 2014, a new decentralized approach to ending infection chains was adopted. This approach was based on building local, small-scale Community Care Centres (CCC) intended to serve as triage units for safe handling of patients waiting for test results, with subsequent transfer to Ebola Treatment Centers (ETC) for those who tested positive for Ebola. This paper deals with local response to the CCC, and explains, through qualitative analysis of focus group data sets, why this development was seen in a positive light. The responses of 562 focus group participants in seven villages with CCC and seven neighbouring referral villages without CCC are assessed. These data confirm that CCC are compatible with community values concerning access to, and family care for, the sick. Mixed reactions are reported in the case of "safe burial", a process that directly challenged ritual activity seen as vital to maintaining good relations between socially-enclaved rural families. Land acquisitions to build CCC prompted divided responses. This reflects problems about land ownership unresolved since colonial times between communities and government. The study provides insights into how gaps in understanding between international Ebola responders and local communities can be bridged.

    Does microcredit increase aspirational hope? Evidence from a group lending scheme in Sierra Leone
    Garcia, Adriana ; Lensink, Robert ; Voors, Maarten - \ 2020
    World Development 128 (2020). - ISSN 0305-750X
    Aspirational hope - C83 - G21 - I31 - Microcredit - O12 - Poverty - Sierra Leone - Well-being - Z13

    Microcredit has received considerable attention due to its potential to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular through its effects on poverty alleviation, female empowerment and self-employment. To date, its effectiveness has largely been evaluated in terms of relieving external constraints of the poor, such as a lack of financial capital for business development. The current study examines whether, and to what extent, microcredit can change internal constraints, such as aspirational hope. We use a cross-sectional dataset of 1295 women in Sierra Leone, 854 of whom are active borrowers of a Microfinance Institution, BRAC. To assess the relationship between microcredit, aspirational hope and economic welfare, we rely on BRAC's eligibility criteria, that only allow access to finance for women living with-in 4 km of a BRAC branch. We find statistically significant and economically meaningful positive associations with both aspirational hope and economic welfare. Overall, this study suggests that microcredit could play an important role in reducing internal psychological constraints, and via this channel contributes to the realization of the SDGs.

    Legal pluralism in post-conflict Sierra Leone
    Naso, Pedro ; Bulte, Erwin ; Swanson, Tim - \ 2020
    European Journal of Political Economy 61 (2020). - ISSN 0176-2680
    Africa - Civil war - Enforcement externalities - Legal dualism

    We examine the interaction between two legal systems in post-conflict Sierra Leone. To do that, we measure the impact of competition between state and non-state legal authorities on the number of disputes and on the amount of fines charged per dispute. Our results suggest a potential negative externality between regimes for civil disputes that is, an increase in the cost of apprehending a person and a reduction in the amount of fines per dispute collected when two regimes operate in the same village. This indicates that a potential benefit to the local people from multiple competing regimes is a reduction on expected authoritative expropriation.

    Trust, and distrust, of Ebola Treatment Centers: A case-study from Sierra Leone
    Richards, Paul ; Mokuwa, Esther ; Welmers, Pleun ; Maat, Harro ; Beisel, Ulrike - \ 2019
    PLoS ONE 14 (2019)12. - ISSN 1932-6203

    The paper considers local responses to the introduction of an Ebola Treatment Centre in eastern Sierra Leone during the West African epidemic of 2014–15. Our study used qualitative methods consisting of focus groups and interviews, to gather responses from patients, members of the families of survivors and deceased victims of the disease, social liaison workers from the centre, and members of the general public. The data indicate that scepticism and resistance were widespread at the outset, but that misconceptions were replaced, in the minds of those directly affected by the disease, by more positive later assessments. Social workers, and social contacts of families with workers in the centre, helped reshape these perceptions, but a major factor was direct experience of the disease. This is apparent in the positive endorsements by survivors and families who had members taken to the facility. Even relatives of deceased victims agreed that the case-handling centre was valuable. However, we also present evidence of continuing scepticism in the minds of members of the general public, who continue to suspect that Ebola was a crisis manufactured for external benefit. Our conclusions stress the importance of better connectivity between communities and Ebola facilities to facilitate experiential learning. There is also a need to address the wider cognitive shock caused by a well-funded Ebola health initiative arriving in communities with a long history of inadequate health care. Restoring trust in medicine requires Ebola Virus Disease to be re-contextualized within a broader framework of concern for the health of all citizens.

    Unconditional Transfers and Tropical Forest Conservation: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Sierra Leone
    Wilebore, Beccy ; Voors, Maarten ; Bulte, Erwin H. ; Coomes, David ; Kontoleon, Andreas - \ 2019
    American Journal of Agricultural Economics 101 (2019)3. - ISSN 0002-9092 - p. 894 - 918.
    Africa - conservation - field experiments - land cover classification - randomized control trials - Sierra Leone - tropical deforestation - unconditional payments

    Unconditional conservation payments are increasingly used by non-governmental conservation organizations to further their environmental objectives. One key objective in many conservation projects that use such unconditional payments schemes is the protection of tropical forest ecosystems in buffer zone areas around protected parks where the scope of instating mandatory restrictions is more limited. We use a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of unconditional livelihood payments to local communities on land use outside a protected area-the Gola Rainforest National Park-which is a biodiversity hotspot on the border of Sierra Leone and Liberia. High resolution RapidEye satellite imagery from before and after the intervention was used to determine land use changes in treated and control villages. We find support for the hypothesis that unconditional payments, in this setting, increase land clearance in the short run. The study constitutes one of the first attempts to use evidence from a randomized control trial to evaluate the efficacy of conservation payments and provides insights for further research.

    Ecosystem Services as (Co-)performative Practice : Experiences from Integrated Water Management in Flanders
    Herzele, Ann Van; Ceuterick, Melissa ; Buizer, Marleen ; Leone, Michael - \ 2019
    Ecological Economics 162 (2019). - ISSN 0921-8009 - p. 29 - 38.
    Ecosystem services - Environmental concepts - Integrated Water Resources Management - Malleability - Performativity - Socio-technical agencement

    Environmental concepts are performative in that they help create the environment they describe. This paper explores the performativity of the ecosystem services concept in the field of integrated water management in Flanders (northern Belgium). The data was collected from 23 in-depth interviews with professionals in the field, conducted in two rounds with a five-year interval and complemented with on-site observations of practices applying the concept. Results indicate that ecosystem services was only marginally performative on its own, and rather was seen as a ‘co-performative concept’ that – in conjunction with existing concepts – could accelerate the envisioned integration process through promoting initiatives, mobilising stakeholders, shaping orientation, creating win-win situations, and more. Yet, despite these aspirations, the concept has in general failed to perform as expected. Many perceived ecosystem services as an academic concept, too complex for practical application. Common strategies were either to adapt the concept to fit one's professional context or to create a new practical context (a stakeholder workshop, for example) where the concept could function. The paper goes on to discuss the more general implications of the (pseudo-)malleability and context-dependence of the ecosystem services concept.

    Agricultural marketing in tropical Africa : Contributions of the Netherlands
    Laan, H.L. van der; Dijkstra, Tjalling ; Tilburg, Aad Van - \ 2018
    London : Taylor and Francis - ISBN 9781138624986 - 240 p.

    First published in 1999, this volume explores how African agriculture has always had a strong appeal for the people of the Netherlands. This is due to (1) a long-established interest in tropical agriculture going back to the days when Indonesia was a Duth colony; (2) a broad-based desire to help the Third World; and (3) the view that Tropical Africa is highly dependent on agriculture. As practical expertise in Africa and systematic research on African agriculture grew, specialization became both possible and necessary. This volume reflects the specialization in marketing which has been welcomed by economists, geographers and scholars of agricultural marketing. In addition to a general introductory chapter, this book includes five contributions on staple food grains, two on export crops, two on cattle and one on horticulture. Nine of the chapters are country-specific, covering Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cȏte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia.

    Institutions and Agrarian Development : A New Approach to West Africa
    Bulte, E.H. ; Richards, P. ; Voors, M.J. - \ 2018
    Palgrave Macmillan - ISBN 9783319984995 - 178 p.
    This book argues that development strategies have thus far failed in Western Africa because the many challenges afflicting the area have yet to be explored and understood from the perspective of institutional resources. With a particular focus on three countries on the bend of the Upper West African coast – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – this book offers a theory to account for the nature of these institutional elements, to test deductions against evidence, and finally to propose a reset for rural development policy to make fuller use of local institutional resources. Based on quantitative analysis and eight years of multidisciplinary field research, this volume features several large-scale RCTs in the domain of rural development, local governance, and nature conservation. The authors address one of the biggest topics in agricultural and development economics today: the structural transformation of poor, agrarian economies, and they do so through the important and unique lens of institutions.
    Chief for a day: Elite capture and management performance in a field experiment in Sierra Leone
    Voors, Maarten ; Turley, Ty ; Bulte, Erwin ; Kontoleon, Andreas ; List, John A. - \ 2018
    Management Science 64 (2018)12. - ISSN 0025-1909 - p. 5855 - 5876.
    Africa - Chieftaincy - Development aid - Local governance

    We use a field experiment in Sierra Leone to examine how the identity of the manager influences rent seeking and performance in participatory development projects. Specifically,we vary the composition of a committee responsible for implementing a development project-local elites or randomly selected villagers. The design is unique in that it permits us to explore the effectiveness of two alternative local governance modalities and the extent of elite capture in community projects. We find little evidence that local elites capture project resources. We do observe they are better managers of development projects. Improved performance covaries with a proxy for power of the local chief.

    Multiscale socio-ecological networks in the age of information
    Lenormand, Maxime ; Luque, Sandra ; Langemeyer, Johannes ; Tenerelli, Patrizia ; Zulian, Grazia ; Aalders, Inge ; Chivulescu, Serban ; Clemente, Pedro ; Dick, Jan ; Dijk, Jiska van; Eupen, Michiel van; Giuca, Relu C. ; Kopperoinen, Leena ; Lellei-Kovács, Eszter ; Leone, Michael ; Lieskovský, Juraj ; Schirpke, Uta ; Smith, Alison C. ; Tappeiner, Ulrike ; Woods, Helen - \ 2018
    PLoS ONE 13 (2018)11. - ISSN 1932-6203

    Interactions between people and ecological systems, through leisure or tourism activities, form a complex socio-ecological spatial network. The analysis of the benefits people derive from their interactions with nature-also referred to as cultural ecosystem services (CES)-enables a better understanding of these socio-ecological systems. In the age of information, the increasing availability of large social media databases enables a better understanding of complex socio-ecological interactions at an unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution. Within this context, we model and analyze these interactions based on information extracted from geotagged photographs embedded into a multiscale socio-ecological network. We apply this approach to 16 case study sites in Europe using a social media database (Flickr) containing more than 150,000 validated and classified photographs. After evaluating the representativeness of the network, we investigate the impact of visitors' origin on the distribution of socio-ecological interactions at different scales. First at a global scale, we develop a spatial measure of attractiveness and use this to identify four groups of sites. Then, at a local scale, we explore how the distance traveled by the users to reach a site affects the way they interact with this site in space and time. The approach developed here, integrating social media data into a network-based framework, offers a new way of visualizing and modeling interactions between humans and landscapes. Results provide valuable insights for understanding relationships between social demands for CES and the places of their realization, thus allowing for the development of more efficient conservation and planning strategies.

    Know your neighbor : The impact of social context on fairness behavior
    Sircar, Neelanjan ; Turley, Ty ; Windt, Peter van der; Voors, Maarten - \ 2018
    PLoS ONE 13 (2018)4. - ISSN 1932-6203
    Laboratory experiments offer an opportunity to isolate human behaviors with a level of precision that is often difficult to obtain using other (survey-based) methods. Yet, experimental tasks are often stripped of any social context, implying that inferences may not directly map to real world contexts. We randomly allocate 632 individuals (grouped randomly into 316 dyads) from small villages in Sierra Leone to four versions of the ultimatum game. In addition to the classic ultimatum game, where both the sender and receiver are anonymous, we reveal the identity of the sender, the receiver or both. This design allows us to explore how fairness behavior is affected by social context in a natural setting where players are drawn from populations that are well-acquainted. We find that average offers increase when the receiver’s identity is revealed, suggesting that anonymous ultimatum games underestimate expected fair offers. This study suggest that researchers wishing to relate laboratory behavior to contexts in which the participants are well-acquainted should consider revealing the identities of the players during game play.
    When we cannot have it all: Ecosystem services trade-offs in the context of spatial planning
    Turkelboom, Francis ; Leone, Michael ; Jacobs, Sander ; Kelemen, Eszter ; García-Llorente, Marina ; Baró, Francesc ; Termansen, Mette ; Barton, David N. ; Berry, Pam ; Stange, Erik ; Thoonen, Marijke ; Kalóczkai, Ágnes ; Vadineanu, Angheluta ; Castro, Antonio J. ; Czúcz, Bálint ; Röckmann, Christine ; Wurbs, Daniel ; Odee, David ; Preda, Elena ; Gómez-Baggethun, Erik ; Rusch, Graciela M. ; Pastur, Guillermo Martínez ; Palomo, Ignacio ; Dick, Jan ; Casaer, Jim ; Dijk, Jiska Van; Priess, Joerg A. ; Langemeyer, Johannes ; Mustajoki, Jyri ; Kopperoinen, Leena ; Baptist, Martin J. ; Peri, Pablo Luis ; Mukhopadhyay, Raktima ; Aszalós, Réka ; Roy, S.B. ; Luque, Sandra ; Rusch, Verónica - \ 2018
    Ecosystem Services 29 (2018)pt. C. - ISSN 2212-0416 - p. 566 - 578.
    Trade-off analytical framework - Ecosystem use - Property regimers - Stakeholder responses - Real-world case studies
    Spatial planning has to deal with trade-offs between various stakeholders’ wishes and needs as part of planning and management of landscapes, natural resources and/or biodiversity. To make ecosystem services (ES) trade-off research more relevant for spatial planning, we propose an analytical framework,
    which puts stakeholders, their land-use/management choices, their impact on ES and responses at the centre. Based on 24 cases from around the world, we used this framing to analyse the appearance and diversity of real-world ES trade-offs. They cover a wide range of trade-offs related to ecosystem use, including: land-use change, management regimes, technical versus nature-based solutions, natural resource use, and management of species. The ES trade-offs studied featured a complexity that was far greater than what is often described in the ES literature. Influential users and context setters are at the core of the trade-off decision-making, but most of the impact is felt by non-influential users. Provisioning and cultural ES were the most targeted in the studied trade-offs, but regulating ES were the most impacted. Stakeholders’ characteristics, such as influence, impact faced, and concerns can partially explain their position and response in relation to trade-offs. Based on the research findings, we formulate recommendations for spatial planning.
    Stakeholders’ perspectives on the operationalisation of the ecosystem service concept: Results from 27 case studies
    Dick, Jan ; Turkelboom, Francis ; Woods, Helen ; Iniesta-Arandia, Irene ; Primmer, Eeva ; Saarela, Sanna-Riikka ; Bezák, Peter ; Mederly, Peter ; Leone, Michael ; Verheyden, Wim ; Kelemen, Eszter ; Hauck, Jennifer ; Andrews, Chris ; Antunes, Paula ; Aszalós, Réka ; Baró, Francesc ; Barton, David N. ; Berry, Pam ; Bugter, Rob ; Carvalho, Laurence ; Czúcz, Bálint ; Dunford, Rob ; Garcia Blanco, Gemma ; Geamănă, Nicoleta ; Giucă, Relu ; Grizzetti, Bruna ; Izakovičová, Zita ; Kertész, Miklós ; Kopperoinen, Leena ; Langemeyer, Johannes ; Montenegro Lapola, David ; Liquete, Camino ; Luque, Sandra ; Martínez Pastur, Guillermo ; Martin-Lopez, Berta ; Mukhopadhyay, Raktima ; Niemela, Jari ; Odee, David ; Peri, Pablo Luis ; Pinho, Patricia ; Patrício-Roberto, Gleiciani Bürger ; Preda, Elena ; Priess, Joerg ; Röckmann, Christine ; Santos, Rui ; Silaghi, Diana ; Smith, Ron ; Vădineanu, Angheluţă ; Wal, Jan Tjalling van der; Arany, Ildikó ; Badea, Ovidiu ; Bela, Györgyi ; Boros, Emil ; Bucur, Magdalena ; Blumentrath, Stefan ; Calvache, Marta ; Carmen, Esther ; Clemente, Pedro ; Fernandes, João ; Ferraz, Diogo ; Fongar, Claudia ; García-Llorente, Marina ; Gómez-Baggethun, Erik ; Gundersen, Vegard ; Haavardsholm, Oscar ; Kalóczkai, Ágnes ; Khalalwe, Thalma ; Kiss, Gabriella ; Köhler, Berit ; Lazányi, Orsolya ; Lellei-Kovács, Eszter ; Lichungu, Rael ; Lindhjem, Henrik ; Magare, Charles ; Mustajoki, Jyri ; Ndege, Charles ; Nowell, Megan ; Nuss Girona, Sergi ; Ochieng, John ; Often, Anders ; Palomo, Ignacio ; Pataki, György ; Reinvang, Rasmus ; Rusch, Graciela ; Saarikoski, Heli ; Smith, Alison ; Soy Massoni, Emma ; Stange, Erik ; Vågnes Traaholt, Nora ; Vári, Ágnes ; Verweij, Peter ; Vikström, Suvi ; Yli-Pelkonen, Vesa ; Zulian, Grazia - \ 2018
    Ecosystem Services 29 (2018)pt. C. - ISSN 2212-0416 - p. 552 - 565.
    The ecosystem service (ES) concept is becoming mainstream in policy and planning, but operational influence on practice is seldom reported. Here, we report the practitioners’ perspectives on the practical implementation of the ES concept in 27 case studies. A standardised anonymous survey (n = 246), was used, focusing on the science-practice interaction process, perceived impact and expected use of the case study assessments. Operationalisation of the concept was shown to achieve a gradual change in practices: 13% of the case studies reported a change in action (e.g. management or policy change), and a further 40% anticipated that a change would result from the work. To a large extent the impact was attributed to a well conducted science-practice interaction process (>70%). The main reported advantages of the concept included: increased concept awareness and communication; enhanced participation and collaboration; production of comprehensive science-based knowledge; and production of spatially referenced knowledge for input to planning (91% indicated they had acquired new knowledge). The limitations were mostly case-specific and centred on methodology, data, and challenges with result implementation. The survey highlighted the crucial role of communication, participation and collaboration across different stakeholders, to implement the ES concept and enhance the democratisation of nature and landscape planning.
    Brassica rapa hairy root extracts promote skin depigmentation by modulating melanin production and distribution
    Sena, Luigi Michele ; Zappelli, Claudia ; Apone, Fabio ; Barbulova, Ani ; Tito, Annalisa ; Leone, Antonella ; Oliviero, Teresa ; Ferracane, Rosalia ; Fogliano, Vincenzo ; Colucci, Gabriella - \ 2018
    Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 17 (2018)2. - ISSN 1473-2130 - p. 246 - 257.
    Active ingredient - Cell biology - Depigmentation - Gene expression - Hairy root cultures - Melanogenesis

    Background: Skin whitening products, used for ages by Asian people for cultural and esthetic purposes, are very popular nowadays in Western countries as well, where the need to inhibit skin spots after sun exposure has become not only a cosmetic but also a health-related issue. Thus, the development of effective and safe depigmenting agents derived from natural products gets continuous attention by cosmetic brands and consumers. Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the effects of two preparations, obtained from the hairy root cultures of the species Brassica rapa, on melanogenesis and the expression of the extracellular matrix proteins involved in a correct pigment distribution. Methods: The two preparations, obtained by water-ethanol extraction and by digestion of cell-wall glycoproteins of the root cells, were chemically characterized and tested on skin cell cultures and on human skin explants to investigate on their dermatological activities. Results: Both the extracts were able to decrease melanin synthesis pathway in melanocytes and modulate the expression of genes involved in melanin distribution. One of the extracts was also effective in inducing the expression of laminin-5 and collagen IV, involved into the maintenance of tissue integrity. The two extracts, when tested together on human skin explants, demonstrated a good synergic hypopigmenting activity. Conclusions: Taken together, the results indicate that the extracts from B. rapa root cultures can be employed as cosmetic active ingredients in skin whitening products and as potential therapeutic agents for treating pigmentation disorders.

    Trust in African Villages : Experimental Evidence from Rural Sierra Leone
    Hofman, Paul ; Bulte, E.H. ; Voors, M.J. - \ 2017
    In: Trust in Social Dilemma's Oxford : Oxford University Press (Human Cooperation ) - ISBN 9780190630782 - p. 263 - 278.
    This chapter studies the correlates of trust and trustworthiness for a population of African smallholder farmers. Using experimental and survey data from 1,289 subjects in 86 communities in Sierra Leone, the study finds that the number of tokens sent in a trust game is smaller than amounts typically sent in other contexts. Levels of trustworthiness, as measured by the number of tokens sent back in the trust game, are comparable. The chapter also shows that trust and trustworthiness are correlated with certain social preferences, beliefs, and village context variables. This calls into question what is exactly measured by the trust game.
    Weather- and climate-related natural hazards in Europe
    Kurnik, Blaz ; Linden, P. van der; Mysiak, J. ; Swart, R.J. ; Füssel, H.M. ; Christiansen, Trine ; Cavicchia, Leone ; Gualdi, S. ; Mercogliano, Paola ; Rianna, Guido ; Kramer, K. ; Michetti, Melania ; Salis, Michele ; Schelhaas, M. ; Leitner, M. ; Vanneuville, W. ; Macadam, Ian - \ 2017
    In: Climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in Europe / Castellari, Sergio, Kurnik, Blaz, EEA - European Environment Agency (EEA Report 15/2017) - ISBN 9789292138936 - p. 46 - 91.
    Since 2003, Europe has experienced several extreme summer heat waves. Such heat waves are projected to occur as often as every 2 years in the second half of the 21st century, under a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5). The impacts will be
    particularly strong in southern Europe.
    Heavy precipitation events have increased in northern and north-eastern Europe since the 1960s, whereas different indices show diverging trends for south-western and southern Europe. Heavy precipitation events are projected to
    become more frequent in most parts of Europe.
    The number of very severe flood events in Europe has varied since 1980, but the economic losses have increased. It isnot currently possible to quantify the contribution due to increased heavy precipitation in parts of Europe compared with better reporting and land use changes.
    Observations of windstorm location, frequency and intensity have showed considerable variability across Europe during the 20th century. Models project an eastward extension of the North Atlantic storm track towards central Europe, with an increase in the number of cyclones in central Europe and a decreased number in the Norwegian and Mediterranean Seas.
    For medicanes (also termed Mediterranean Sea hurricanes), a decreased frequency but increased intensity of medicanes is projected in the Mediterranean area.
    Landslides are a natural hazard that cause fatalities and significant economic losses in various parts of Europe. Projected increases in temperature and changes in precipitation patterns will affect rock slope stability conditions and favour increases in the frequency of shallow landslides, especially in European mountains.
    The severity and frequency of droughts appear to have increased in parts of Europe, in particular in southern and south-eastern Europe. Droughts are projected to increase in frequency, duration, and severity in most of Europe, with the strongest increase projected for southern Europe.
    Forest fire risk depends on many factors, including climatic conditions, vegetation, forest management practices and other socio-economic factors. The burnt area in the Mediterranean region increased from 1980 to 2000; it has decreased thereafter. Projected increases in heat waves together with an expansion of the fire-prone area will increase the duration of fire seasons across Europe, in particular in southern Europe.
    Observational data between 1970 and 2015 show that alpine avalanches cause on average 100 fatalities every winter in the Alps. Increased temperatures are expected to lead to decreases in alpine snow cover and duration, and in turn
    to decreased avalanche activity below about 1 500-2 000 m elevation in spring, but increased avalanche activity above 2 000 m elevation, especially in winter.
    Hail is responsible for significant damage to crops, vehicles, buildings and other infrastructure. Despite improvements in data availability, trends and projections of hail events are still subject to large uncertainties owing to a lack of direct
    observation and inadequate microphysical schemes in numerical weather prediction and climate models.
    Extreme high coastal water levels have increased at most locations along the European coastline. This increase appears to be predominantly due to increases in mean local sea level rather than to changes in storm activity. Projected changes in the frequency and intensity of storm surges are expected to cause significant ecological damage, economic loss and other societal problems along low-lying coastal areas in northern and western Europe, unless additional adaptation measures are implemented.
    Design and development of a digital farmer field school. Experiences with a digital learning environment for cocoa production and certification in Sierra Leone
    Witteveen, Loes ; Lie, Rico ; Goris, Margriet ; Ingram, Verina - \ 2017
    Telematics and Informatics 34 (2017)8. - ISSN 0736-5853 - p. 1673 - 1684.
    Cocoa certification training - ICT - Novice and low literacy users - Rural communication services - User experience (UX) design - User interface (UI) design

    This article reports on the design and development of the Digital Farmer Field School (DFFS). The DFFS offers a tablet-based digital learning environment for farmers and extension agents for knowledge sharing and knowledge co-creation. It provides an alternative to conventional agricultural extension training and monitoring. The prototype DFFS applies Farmer Field School (FFS) learning principles and is designed and developed following user experience (UX) design principles and user interface (UI) design principles from a responsible innovation perspective, using existing FFS material and tailored films which support and enrich the content. The prototype DFFS has been tested in Sierra Leone to assess its success in providing a substitute for face-to-face voluntary sustainability standard certification training for cocoa farmers. Results show that the DFFS as an off-line, telephonically connected and regular on-line updated learning platform offers an appropriate environment in which collective and individual learning is stimulated and facilitated. The DFFS prototype was socio-culturally and technologically appropriate and fitted the operational and strategic communication skills of cocoa farmers and other value chain stakeholders. Films capturing the testing are available as additional learning media.

    From personalized exchange towards anonymous trade: A field experiment on the workings of the invisible hand
    Bulte, Erwin ; Kontoleon, Andreas ; List, John ; Turley, Ty ; Voors, Maarten - \ 2017
    Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 133 (2017). - ISSN 0167-2681 - p. 313 - 330.
    Africa - Anonymity - Efficiency - Social relations - Status - Trade experiment
    The experimental literature has shown the tendency for experimental trading markets to converge to neoclassical predictions. Yet, the extent to which theory explains the equilibrating forces in markets remains under-researched, especially in the developing world. We set up a laboratory in 94 villages in rural Sierra Leone to mimic a real market. We implement several treatments, varying trading partners and the anonymity of trading. We find that when trading with co-villagers average efficiency is somewhat lower than predicted by theory (and observed in different contexts), and markets do not fully converge to theoretical predictions across rounds of trading. When participants trade with strangers efficiency is reduced more. Anonymizing trade within the village does not affect efficiency. This points to the importance of behavioral norms for trade. Intra-village social relationships or hierarchies, instead, appear less important as determinants of trading outcomes. This is confirmed by analysis of the trader-level data, showing that individual earnings in the experiment do not vary with one's status or position in local networks.
    Resources and Governance in Sierra Leone's Civil War
    Voors, M.J. ; Windt, P.C. van der; Papaioannou, K.I. ; Bulte, E.H. - \ 2017
    Journal of Development Studies 53 (2017)2. - ISSN 0022-0388 - p. 278 - 294.
    We empirically investigate the role of natural resources, and governance in explaining variation in the intensity of conflict during the 1991–2002 civil war in Sierra Leone. As a proxy for governance quality we exploit exogenous variation in political competition at the level of the chieftaincy. As a proxy for resources we use data on the location of pre-war mining sites. Our main result is that neither governance nor resources robustly explains the onset or duration of violence during the civil war in Sierra Leone.
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