Adaptation in a multi-stressor environment: perceptions and responses to climatic and economic risks by coffee growers in Mesoamerica
- 1.2k Downloads
While climate change adaptation policy has tended to focus on planned adaptation interventions, in many vulnerable communities, adaptation will consist of autonomous, “unplanned” actions by individuals who are responding to multiple simultaneous sources of change. Their actions are likely not only to affect their own future vulnerability, but, through changes in livelihoods and resource use, the vulnerability of their community and resource base. In this paper, we document the autonomous changes to livelihood strategies adopted by smallholder coffee farmers in four Mesoamerican countries (Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica). Our aim is to gain insight into the process of autonomous adaptation by proxy: through an assessment of how farmers explain their choices in relation to distinct stressors; and an understanding of the set of choices available to farmers. We find that climatic stress is a feature in decision making, but not the dominant driver. Nevertheless, the farmers in our sample are evidently flexible, adaptive, and experimental in relation to changing circumstances. Whether their autonomous responses to diverse stressors will result in a reduction in risk over time may well depend on the extent to which policy, agricultural research, and rural investments build on the inherent logic of these strategies.
KeywordsClimate change Market volatility Coffee production Livelihood strategies Mesoamerica Autonomous adaptation
We gratefully acknowledge the many coffee farmers who have participated in this research, and representatives of NGOs and government programs who offered their knowledge, time, and access to archival documents. We thank Sharon Amani and Ana Lucía Solano Garrido for their assistance with the data analysis. The Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) (CRN-2060) generously provided funding through U.S. NSF Grant GEO-0452325.
- Brown, K., & Westaway, E. (2011). Agency, capacity, and resilience to environmental change: Lessons from human development, well-being and disasters. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 36, 14.11–14.22.Google Scholar
- Burton, I., Huq, S., Limc, B., Pilifosovad, O., & Schipper, E. L. (2002). From impacts assessment to adaptation priorities: The shaping of adaptation policy. Climate Policy, 2(3), 145–159.Google Scholar
- Clarence-Smith, W. G., & Topik, S. (Eds.). (2003). The global coffee economy in Africa, Asia and Latin America, 1500–1989. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Daviron, B., & Ponte, S. (2005). The coffee paradox: Global markets, commodity trade and the elusive promise of development. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
- Descroix, F., & Snoeck, J. (2009). Environmental factors suitable for coffee production. In J. N. Wintgens (Ed.), Coffee: Growing, processing, sustainable production, 2nd rev edn (pp. 168–181). Weinheim: Wiley-VCH.Google Scholar
- Eakin, H., Tucker, C., & Castellanos, E. (2006). Responding to the coffee crisis: A pilot study of farmers' adaptations in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. The Geographical Journal, 172(2), 156–171.Google Scholar
- Ellis, F. (2000). Rural livelihoods and diversity in developing countries. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization). (2012). FAOSTAT. http://faostat3.fao.org/home/index.html#HOME.
- Gliessman, S. R. (2008). Agroecological foundations for designing sustainable coffee agroecosystems. In C. M. Bacon, V. E. Méndez, S. R. Gliessman, D. Goodman, & J. A. Fox (Eds.), Confronting the coffee crisis: Fair trade, sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems in Mexico and Central America (pp. 27–42). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Haggar, J., & Schepp, K. (2012). Coffee and climate change: Impacts and options for adaptation in Brazil, Guatemala, Tanzania and Vietnam. Climate Change, Agriculture and Natural Resources Working Paper Series, No. 4. London: Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich. http://www.nri.org/docs/promotional/D5930-11_NRI_Coffee_Climate_Change_WEB.pdf.
- IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). (2007). Climate change 2007: Synthesis report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Geneva, Switzerland: IPCC.Google Scholar
- Jaffee, D. (2007). Brewing justice: Fair trade coffee, sustainability and survival. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Laderach, P., Lundy, M., Jarvis, A., Ramirez, J., Perez Portilla, E., Schepp, K., et al. (2011). Predicted impact of climate change on coffee supply chains. In W. L. Filho (Ed.), The economic, social and political elements of climate change. Climate Change Management series (pp. 703–723). Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lewin, B., Giovannucci, D., & Varangis, P. (2004). Coffee markets: New paradigms in global supply and demand. Agriculture and Rural Development Discussion Paper 3. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
- McSweeney, K., & Coomes, O. T. (2011). Climate-related disaster opens a window of opportunity for rural poor in northeastern Honduras. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science of the United States of America, 108(13), 5203–5208. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3069189/.
- Mertz, O., Mbow, C., Reenberg, A., & Diouf, A. (2009). Farmers’ perceptions of climate change and agricultural adaptation strategies in rural Sahel. Environmental Management, 43, 804–816.Google Scholar
- Perfecto, I., & Armbrecht, I. (2003). The coffee agroecosystem in the neotropics: Combining ecological and economic goals. In J. Vandermeer (Ed.), Tropical agroecosystems (pp. 159–194). Washington, DC: CRC Press.Google Scholar
- Pineda Portillo, N. (1997). Geografia de Honduras.ion, 3rd edn. Tegucigalpa: Editorial Guaymuras.Google Scholar
- Pohlan, H. A. J. (2006). El cafetal del futuro. In J. Pohlan, L. Soto, & J. Barrera (Eds.), El cafetal del futuro: Realidades y visiones (pp. 3–14). Aachen: Shaker Verlag.Google Scholar
- Pohlan, H. A. J., & Pérez Romero, A. (2006). Diversificación productive con rambután (Nephelium lappaceum L.). In J. Pohlan, L. Soto, & J. Barrera (Eds.), El cafetal del futuro: Realidades y visiones (pp. 243–256). Aachen: Shaker Verlag.Google Scholar
- Romero Leon, K., Houston, J. E., & Epperson, J. E. (2006). Diversification in low-grade coffee-growing areas of Veracruz, Mexico: Market possibilities. Journal of Food Distribution Research, 37(1), 143–148.Google Scholar
- Samaniego, J. (2009). Climate change and development in Latin America and the Caribbean: Overview 2009. Santiago, Chile: United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. http://www.eclac.org/publicaciones/xml/7/38147/04_Climate_Change_and_Development_Overview_2009.pdf.
- Schipper, E. L. F. (2006). Conceptual history of adaptation in the UNFCCC process. Reciel, 15, 82–92.Google Scholar
- Schroth, G., Laderach, P., Dempewolf, J., Philpott, S. M., Haggar, J., Eakin, H., et al. (2009). Towards a climate change adaptation strategy for coffee communities and ecosystems in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, Mexico. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 14, 605–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- SMNM (Servicio Meteorológico Nacional de México). (2000a). Normales climatológicas 1971–2000: Estado de Chiapas: Estación 00007018 Cacahoatán. http://smn.cna.gob.mx/climatologia/normales/estacion/chis/NORMAL07018.TXT.
- SMNM (Servicio Meteorológico Nacional de México). (2000b). Normales climatológicas 1971–2000: Estado de Chiapas: Estación 00007355 Unión Zaragoza, Jitotol. http://smn.cna.gob.mx/climatologia/normales/estacion/chis/NORMAL07355.TXT.
- Spoor, M. (2000). Two decades of adjustment and agricultural development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Economic Reforms series, No. 56. Santiago, Chile: Centro Latinoamericano y Caribeño de Demografía, División de Población de la CEPAL.Google Scholar
- Talbot, J. M. (2004). Grounds for agreement: The political economy of the coffee commodity chain. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Tucker, C., Eakin, H., & Castellanos, E. (2010). Perceptions of risk and adaptation: Coffee producers, market shocks and extreme weather in Central America and Mexico. Global Environmental Change, 20, 23–32.Google Scholar
- UNEP-ECLAC (United Nations Environmental Program–Economic and Social Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean). (2010). Vital climate change graphics for Latin America and the Caribbean: Special edition for the COP16/CMP 6, Mexico. Panama City: UNEP-ECLAC.Google Scholar
- Vandermeer, J., & Perfecto, I. (2005). Breakfast of biodiversity: The political ecology of rainforest destruction. Oakland, CA: Food First Books.Google Scholar
- Varangis, P., Siegel, P., Giovannucci, D., & Lewin, B. (2003). Dealing with the coffee crisis in Central America: Impacts and strategies. Policy Research Working Paper 2993. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
- Zúñiga Andrade, E. (1990). Las modalidades de la lluvia en Honduras. Tegucigalpa: Editorial Guaymuras.Google Scholar