Resilient agriculture-based livelihoods and resilient agricultural landscapes? Adaptation to climate change in African agriculture

Rainfall variability poses a challenge to agricultural production and ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa. Its projected increase in African drylands will likely worsen the precarious climatic conditions for crop production, thereby making food production conditions more volatile, increasing food insecurity and loss in ecosystem services. Resilience as a concept offers a way to measure how agricultural livelihoods and –landscapes successfully function or can function despite these climatic disturbances.

I use resilience to refer to the capacity of individuals, social groups or social–ecological systems to persist, adapt and function despite disturbances or changing conditions such as climate change. Resilience can be applied to livelihoods and landscapes. An agricultural landscape consists of several farm plots and other areas with no or different farming management. Since resilience cannot be directly measured, I will develop proxies and indicators for it. To capture resilient landscapes, indicators such as land cover or biomass can be used. This project hypothesises that resilient agricultural livelihoods correlate with resilient agricultural landscapes and identifies the factors for such positive relations. As existing resilience frameworks have limitations for research using a livelihood perspective, I will first re-configure resilience for livelihood-oriented research of social-ecological systems. I aim to analyse: (1) how agricultural livelihoods and -landscapes successfully function under droughts and floods; (2) whether and how such livelihoods and -landscapes correlate, and the roles of socio-economic factors, institutions and policies; (3) the implications of regional climate change projections and rainfall trends for building resilient livelihoods and landscapes; and (4) policy options for supporting and up-scaling such livelihoods and landscapes.

Farms in Africa

I will use past project sites on sustainable land management in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria to select cases for in-depth study. My methodology combines qualitative, quantitative and spatial data, derived from interviews, discussions, field measurements, digital maps and satellite images. I will use content analysis, statistical analysis and develop resilience indices.

The project contributes to the advancement of Human Geography and Development Studies by providing insights into the interactions between resilient agricultural livelihoods and -landscapes under conditions of increased rainfall variability. By reconceptualising and operationalizing resilience, it provides new analytical tools. It contributes to efforts to identify and upscale practices that sustain food production in sub-Saharan Africa.

Project team:

Prof. Dr. Chinwe Ifejika Speranza, Anne de Chastonay, Sebastian Oggier

Start:

2012

Funding:

self-funded, former Ambizione (SNF)

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Chinwe Ifejika Speranza

Link to Website:

http://p3.snf.ch/Project-137068

Reading material/Publications:

Adaptation to Climate Change: Analysing Capacities in Africa

Ifejika Speranza Chinwe and Scholz Imme (2013), Adaptation to Climate Change: Analysing Capacities in Africa, in Regional Environmental Change, 13(3), 471-475.

Buffer capacity: capturing a dimension of resilience to climate change in African smallholder agriculture

Ifejika Speranza Chinwe (2013), Buffer capacity: capturing a dimension of resilience to climate change in African smallholder agriculture, in Regional Environmental Change, 13(3), 521-535.

Chapter 2. Nigeria’s Changing Climate: Risks, Impacts & Adaptation in the Agriculture Sector.

Adegoke J. Jagtap S. Jimoh D. Ifejika Speranza C. Areola F. Ibe C. Abdulkadir A. Jibrin J. (2014), Chapter 2. Nigeria’s Changing Climate: Risks, Impacts & Adaptation in the Agriculture Sector., in In Adegoke J. Ibe C. and Araba A. (Editors) (ed.), National Agricultural Resilience Framework (NARF)., A Report by The Advisory Committee on Agricultural Resilience in Nigeria (ACARN)., Abuja, Nigeria, 37-54.

Chapter 5: Agricultural Research and Technology Development for Climate Resilient Agriculture.

Vermeulen S. Abubakar Y. Conway G. Dziba L. Hoevel M. Ibe C. Ibrahim A. Olokor J. Ifejika Sp (2014), Chapter 5: Agricultural Research and Technology Development for Climate Resilient Agriculture., in In Adegoke J. Ibe C. and Araba A. (Editors) (ed.), National Agricultural Resilience Framework (NARF), A Report by The Advisory Committee on Agricultural Resilience In Nigeria (ACARN)., Abuja, Nigeria, 102-131.

Chapter 7: Policy Interventions in Support of Agricultural Resilience in Nigeria.

Ibe C. Adegoke J. Ifejika Speranza C. Shisanya C. Conway G. Vemeulen S. Araba D. Obatola P. (2014), Chapter 7: Policy Interventions in Support of Agricultural Resilience in Nigeria., in In Adegoke J. Ibe C. and Araba A. (Editors) (ed.), National Agricultural Resilience Framework (NARF)., A Report by The Advisory Committee on Agricultural Resilience In Nigeria (ACARN)., Abuja, Nigeria, 150-200.

An Indicator framework for assessing livelihood resilience in the context of social-ecological dynamics.

Ifejika Speranza C. Wiesmann U. and Rist S. (2014), An Indicator framework for assessing livelihood resilience in the context of social-ecological dynamics., in Global Environmental Change, 28, 109-119.

Master thesis: Mainstreaming Climate Change into Public Administration - A Vertical Analysis of Tanzania’s Agricultural Sector.

Schotte Sarah-Kay (2014), Master thesis: Mainstreaming Climate Change into Public Administration - A Vertical Analysis of Tanzania’s Agricultural Sector., Master thesis, Geogrphy, University of Bern, Bern.

Master thesis: Land Management and Soil Organic Carbon Distribution on Slopes in Frienisberg.

de Chastonay Anne (2014), Master thesis: Land Management and Soil Organic Carbon Distribution on Slopes in Frienisberg., Master Thesis, Geography, University of Bern, Bern.

Climate Smart Agriculture in the African Context

Williams T. O. Mul M. Cofie O. Kinyangi J. Zougmore R. Wamukoya G. Nyasimi M. Mapfumo P. (2015), Climate Smart Agriculture in the African Context, African Development Bank, Senegal.

Can conservation agriculture help in building above and belowground carbon stocks in Eastern Kenya?

Ouko C Kiteme B Ifejika Speranza C. Mukunga D.and Aynekulu E. (2015), Can conservation agriculture help in building above and belowground carbon stocks in Eastern Kenya?, Internal Working Paper, Centre for Training & Integrated Research in ASAL Development (CETRAD)., Nanyuki.

Climate ResilienceAssessment of Agriculture and Forestry Projects and Programmes (CRAAF). Background paper to the FAO.

Ifejika Speranza C. and Bockel L. (2015), Climate ResilienceAssessment of Agriculture and Forestry Projects and Programmes (CRAAF). Background paper to the FAO., FAO - Background paper, Rome.

Key features for more successful place-based sustainability research on social-ecological systems: a Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) perspective.

Balvanera P. T. M. Daw T. Gardner B. Martín-López A. Norström C. Ifejika Speranza M. Spierenb (2017), Key features for more successful place-based sustainability research on social-ecological systems: a Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) perspective., in Ecology and Society, 22(1)(14), 1-45.

A Blueprint to Evaluate One Health.

Rüegg SR McMahon BJ Häsler B Esposito R Nielsen LR Ifejika Speranza C Ehlinger T Peyre M Ara (2017), A Blueprint to Evaluate One Health., in Front. Public Health, 5(20), 1-16.

Climate Resilience Assessment of Agriculture and Forestry Projects and Programmes (CRAAF). -An Expert Assessment Tool.

Ifejika Speranza C. and Bockel L. (accepted), Climate Resilience Assessment of Agriculture and Forestry Projects and Programmes (CRAAF). -An Expert Assessment Tool., Centre for Development nd Environment Working paper., Bern.