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This book embodies the results of thirteen years of research in drought-prone rural areas in the semi-arid zone of northern Nigeria. It describes the patterns of adaptive behaviour observed among Hausa, Ful'be and Manga communities in response to recurrent drought in the 1970s and 1980s. The question of desertification is explored in an area where the visible evidence of moving sand dunes is dramatic blame are examined in relation to the field evidence. A critique is offered of deterministic theories and authoritarian solutions. Professor Mortimore demonstrates a parallel between the observable resilience of semi-arid ecosystems and the adaptive strategies of the human communities that inhabit them and suggests policy directions for strengthening that resilience. First published in 1989.