Adaptation to Climate Change

What does it mean to adapt to climate change? In the ecological literature, resilience is conceptualized as the stability of the current equilibrium state: would a small disturbance to the ecosystem be followed by a quick (or slow) return to the original state, would it result in a shift to a new equilibrium state, or would it result in a runaway instability? We apply these concepts to smallholder farming households to understand what types of technologies and strategies help farmers in the semi-arid tropics de-couple their production from weather, particularly as baseline climate changes. 

Our work with Adapta Sertão in northeast Brazil has helped to untangle the dynamics of climate adaptation in the region (Climatic Change, 2014). We are at present evaluating the impact of new types of intensive forage production on milk and meat productivity, household economics, and local landcover in the region. We are also working on new remote-sensing based ecosystem assessments for semi-arid regions. Finally, a new project with these guys (CTM & KS) is quantifying the impact of climate, and climate adaptation investments, on the resilience of the Brazilian financial sector.

 

Current Projects:

  • Climate resilience of the Brazilian financial sector (Craig McIntosh, Krislert Samphantharak)
  • Testing core climate impact models over time (Jon Proctor, Craig McIntosh)
  • Semi-arid ecosystem assessment using high-resolution satellite imagery (Ran Goldblatt)
  • Measuring smallholder farmer adaptation to climate change using remote sensing of land cover at the plot scale (Ran Goldblatt)