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TWN Environment & Development Series no. 6

Enduring Farms: Climate Change, Smallholders and Traditional Farming Communities

By Miguel A Altieri & Parviz Koohafkan

Publisher: TWN (ISBN: 978-983-2729-55-6)

Year: 2008   No. of pages: 72

ABOUT THE BOOK

Most climate change models predict that this global phenomenon will have severe impacts on small farmers, particularly in developing countries. Increasing temperatures, droughts, heavy precipitation and other extreme climatic events could reduce yields by up to 50 percent in some regions, especially in drylands.

    However, existing models at best provide a broad-brush approximation of expected effects on peasant farming systems and hide the enormous variability in internal adaptation strategies and the inherent resilience of such systems. Many rural and traditional farming communities seem to cope well with climatic extremes. In fact, many farmers adapt and even prepare for climate change, minimizing crop failure through increased use of drought-tolerant local varieties, water harvesting, extensive planting, mixed cropping, agroforestry, opportunistic weeding, wild plant gathering and a series of other traditional farming techniques. This points to the need to re-evaluate indigenous knowledge as a key source of information on adaptive capacity centred on the selective, experimental and resilient capabilities of farmers in dealing with climatic variability.

   Understanding the agroecological features and coping/adaptation mechanisms employed by traditional societies provides useful insights into the relationship between the climate and agricultural systems in diverse geographical and agroclimatic regions of the world. This booklet describes the impacts of climate change on smallholder/traditional family farming communities, and the agroecological features of indigenous agricultural systems which could serve as the foundation for the design of resilient agricultural systems and strategies for food security and poverty reduction in an era of climate change.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DR MIGUEL A ALTIERI is a Professor of Agroecology at the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.

PARVIZ KOOHAFKAN is Director of the Land and Water Division in the Natural Resources Management and Environment Department of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Italy.

Contents

1              INTRODUCTION                  

2              AGRICULTURE, CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE RURAL POOR              

               

3              IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON SMALLHOLDERS/TRADITIONAL FAMILY

                FARMING COMMUNITIES             

4              STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF TRADITIONAL FARMING SYSTEMS IN AN ERA

                OF CLIMATE CHANGE   

5              EXTENT OF TRADITIONAL AND FAMILY FARMING SYSTEMS       

6              COPING MECHANISMS AND STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE RESILIENCY TO

                CLIMATIC VARIABILITY

7              GLOBALLY IMPORTANT AGRICULTURAL HERITAGE SYSTEMS  

8              CAPTURING WATER IN DRYLAND ENVIRONMENTS         

               

9              FARMERS' INNOVATION AND LOCAL APPROACHES IN CLIMATICALLY

                MARGINAL ENVIRONMENTS      

10           SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

REFERENCES     

PRICE

US$10.00 for First World countries

US$8.00 for Third World countries

RM10.00 for Malaysia

Prices are inclusive of postage costs by airmail.


How to Order the Book

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Contact Third World Network at 131 Jalan Macalister, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.

Tel: 04-2266159

Fax: 604-2264505

Email us for further information

 


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