Losing faith in the land: changing environmental perceptions in Burunge country, Tanzania

W. Östberg, M.F.W. Slegers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Two studies carried out among Burunge small-scale farmers disclosed a striking difference in their relation to the area's natural resources over a period of less than fifteen years. The paper outlines how the Burunge had come to develop essentially trustful attitudes to the world they inhabit. Dramatic changes in official land policies in the 1970s had not changed this by the early 1990s. However, this was also a time when a new mode of farming became dominant in the area, which caused Burunge farmers to move from a view of nature as a reliable provider to become concerned over increased drought, diminishing soil fertility and accelerated soil erosion. Rainfall records did not tally with the perceived increased severity of drought and therefore it is concluded that the Burunge did not relate drought only to meteorological events but also understand drought as a function of a diminishing resource base
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-265
JournalJournal of Eastern African Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • semiarid central tanzania
  • soil-erosion
  • east-africa
  • drought
  • dynamics
  • ethiopia
  • history


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