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Environmental Management

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 186–199 | Cite as

Environmental Security: A Geographic Information System Analysis Approach—The Case of Kenya

  • Stefano Bocchi
  • Stefano Peppino Disperati
  • Simone Rossi
Article

Abstract

Studies into the relationships between environmental factors and violence or conflicts constitute a very debated research field called environmental security. Several authors think that environmental scarcity, which is scarcity of renewable resources, can contribute to generate violence or social unrest, particularly within states scarcely endowed with technical know-how and social structures, such as developing countries. In this work, we referred to the theoretical model developed by the Environmental Change and Acute Conflict Project. Our goal was to use easily available spatial databases to map the various sources of environmental scarcity through geographic information systems, in order to locate the areas apparently most at risk of suffering negative social effects and their consequences in terms of internal security. The analysis was carried out at a subnational level and applied to the case of Kenya. A first phase of the work included a careful selection of databases relative to renewable resources. Spatial operations among these data allowed us to obtain new information on the availability of renewable resources (cropland, forests, water), on the present and foreseen demographic pressure, as well as on the social and technical ingenuity. The results made it possible to identify areas suffering from scarcity of one or more renewable resources, indicating different levels of gravity. Accounts from Kenya seem to confirm our results, reporting clashes between tribal groups over the access to scarce resources in areas that our work showed to be at high risk.

Keywords

Environmental security Violence and conflict Developing countries Renewable resources Environmental scarcity Geographic information systems Kenya 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the following people: Richard Cicone, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Kevin Schenk, Wenche Hauge, Geoffrey Dabelko, Freddy Nachtergaele, Norman Kahn, Leif Ohlsson, Simona Pogliani, the staff of the Kenya Wildlife Service (especially Simon Gitau, Bongo Woodley and William Kimuge Tanui), and Glenn Fernandez.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefano Bocchi
    • 1
  • Stefano Peppino Disperati
    • 1
  • Simone Rossi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Crop ScienceState University of MilanItaly

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