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Focus on... Coping with climate change

Over millennia, farmers have coped with changes in their environment and learnt to adapt. But with global warming, weather patterns are becoming more erratic and unpredictable than ever, and farming livelihoods increasingly under threat from weather-related disasters such as drought and floods. Over the next few decades the situation seems certain to become worse, as rising temperatures result in greater food insecurity, disease, and loss of biodiversity. All this, while farmers are asked to grow more food for an expanding population.

In this issue, we focus on some of the challenges and costs of coping with climate change. From the coffee slopes of Colombia to the pastoral lands of the Horn of Africa and the river deltas of Bangladesh, we review just a small selection of the technologies, practices and policies that are helping, as well as hindering, adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Farmers' perspectives on a changing climate

Farmers' perspectives on a changing climate

Farmers from all over the world report that the seasons are changing. A new Oxfam report highlights their plight as seasons become hotter and drier and rainy seasons shorter and more violent. Using farmers' perceptions, Oxfam documents these changes and the impacts they are having.

Date published: September 2009

Climate change: a high price to pay

Climate change: a high price to pay

In 2007 the UN estimated that the annual global cost of adapting to climate change by 2030 would be between US$40 - 170 billion. But, according to a newly published report, the real costs of adaptation are likely to be at least two-to-three times higher.

Date published: September 2009

Pastoralists: moving with the times?

Pastoralists: moving with the times?

Pastoralists worldwide have been adapting to climate variability for millennia and their adaptability ought to enable them to cope with this growing challenge.

Date published: September 2009

Biochar - putting carbon back

Biochar - putting carbon back

Made from waste products rather than timber, green charcoal is already validated as a source of carbon credits when used as a domestic fuel source. Now, an NGO is pioneering its use as a soil improver, adapting a system employed by Amazonian Indians up to 7,000 years ago.

Date published: September 2009

Building resilience in the city

Building resilience in the city

Urban agriculture is a valuable asset to cities dealing with climate change, but urban farmers are themselves feeling the impacts in some vulnerable cities. Researchers, municipal authorities, and agriculturists are now addressing a range of challenges with the overall goal of building resilience for farmers and their cities.

Date published: September 2009

Bangladesh - farming the flood

Bangladesh - farming the flood

From floating gardens to pumpkin cultivation on sandbars, Practical Action has been working with flood prone communities in Bangladesh to develop a range of innovative technologies that have enabled people to take up new and more sustainable livelihoods.

Date published: September 2009

Trouble brewing for Colombian coffee

Trouble brewing for Colombian coffee

Coffee production in Colombia's western Risaralda department is the country's front line in the fight against climate change. Renowned for producing some of the best Arabica beans in the world, rising temperatures, unpredictable rains and increasing disease pressure mean many small producers are abandoning coffee altogether.

Date published: September 2009

Green light for Ethiopia's REDD project

Green light for Ethiopia's REDD project

Ethiopia's Bale Mountains, a watershed for millions in Africa, are severely threatened by deforestation. But by introducing participatory forest management activities, NGOs hope to make the region eligible for carbon credit payments, bringing much needed finance to local communities.

Date published: September 2009

 

 

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