A methodological proposal for the evaluation of farmer’s adaptation to climate variability, mainly due to drought in watersheds in Central America

  • Laura BenegasEmail author
  • Francisco Jiménez
  • Bruno Locatelli
  • Jorge Faustino
  • Max Campos
Original Article


The current study shows the process and the results of a methodology proposed to contribute with the issue of how to evaluate the adaptation to climate variability and future climate change. The proposed methodology consists of a standard to evaluate farmer’s adaptation to climate variability, mainly due to drought in watersheds in Central America; and was created with contributions from experts and professionals around this region. The phases for this process were: (1) literature review about the topic, (2) development of a preliminary standard, (3) expert interviews for the evaluation of this preliminary standard, (4) construction of a standard to evaluate the issue of adaptation to climate variability emphasizing drought through contributions from experts and their preliminary evaluations, (5) applicability test of this standard for the evaluation of climate variability under real conditions and (6) application of this standard through a case study in the Aguas Calientes river sub-watershed in Nicaragua, which permanently undergoes drought problems and climate variability. This standard has five main principles that go from the general, considering regional and national policies and institutionalism, to the specifics at the level of watersheds. In addition to those principles, the standard contains ten criteria, 26 indicators and 51 verifiers distributed among the main five principles. In the process for testing this standard in the Aguas Calientes river watershed in Nicaragua, the score for the general applicability to this standard was middle-level (score of 3 in a scale of 1 to 5), although, for the main principles of this standard, the score was four (high).


Adaptation Resilience Climate variability Evaluation standard Multi-criteria analysis 


  1. Benegas Negri LA (2006) Propuesta metodológica para evaluar la adaptación de los productores a la variabilidad climática, principalmente a la sequía, en cuencas hidrográficas en América Central. Tesis Mag. Sc. Turrialba, CR. 160Google Scholar
  2. Burton I (1996) The growth of adaptation capacity: practice and policy. In: Smith J, Bhatti N, Menzhulin G, Benioff R, Budyko MI, Campos M, Jallow B, Rijsberman F (eds) Adapting to climate change: an international perspective. Springer, New York, pp 55–67Google Scholar
  3. Burton I (2005) Moving forward on adaptation: a big Challenger and many opportunities. In session workshop on adaptation. Bonn. 12Google Scholar
  4. Carter TR (1996) Assessing climate change adaptations: the IPCC guidelines. In: Smith J, Bhatti N, Menzhulin G, Benioff R, Budyko MI, Campos M, Jallow B, Rijsberman F (eds) Adapting to climate change: an international perspective. Springer, New York, pp 27–43Google Scholar
  5. Fondazione En Enrico (2006) Decision methods. Fondazione En Enrico, Venice, p 41Google Scholar
  6. De Loë RC, Kreutzwiser R (2000) Climate variability, climate change and water resource management in the Great Lakes. Climatic Change 45(1):163–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dolan H, Smit B, Skinner M, Bradshaw B, Bryant C (2001) Adaptation to climate change in agriculture: evaluation of options. Department of Geography, University of Guelph, Guelph Occasional paper No. 26Google Scholar
  8. Tavistock Institute, GHK Consulting and IRS (2006) Evalsed guide. Guide to Socio Economic Development. Tavistock Institute, GHK Consulting and IRS (Instituto per la Ricerca Sociale), Milan, Italy. (In line). Consulted on: ago 2007. Available in:
  9. Folke C, Carpenter S, Elmqvist T, Gunderson L, Holling CS, Walker B (2002) Resilience and sustainable development: building adaptive capacity in a world of transformations. Ambio 31:437–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Grupo Intergubernamental de Expertos sobre el Cambio Climático (IPCC) (2001) Tercer informe de evaluación: Cambio Climático 2001. Impactos, adaptación y vulnerabilidad. OMN-PNUMA. 101Google Scholar
  11. Löe R, Kreutzwiser R, Moraru L (2001) Adaptation options for the near term: climate change and the canadian water sector. Global Environment Change 11:231–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mendoza G, Macoum P (1999) Guidelines for applying multicriteria analysis to the assessment of criteria and indicators. The Criteria and Indicators Toolbox Series 9. ID. CIFOR (Center for Internacional Forestry Research). 86Google Scholar
  13. Musálem, K (2005) Propuesta metodológica para la certificación del manejo integrado de cuencas en América Tropical. Tesis Mag. Sc. Turrialba, CR. CATIE. 87Google Scholar
  14. Neil W, Arnell N, Tompkins E (2005) Successful adaptation to climate change across scales. Global Environmental Change. 15:77–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Niang-Diop I, Bosch H (2004) Formulating an adaptation strategy. IPCC, Geneva Technical paper 8Google Scholar
  16. Prabhu R, Colfer C, Dudley R (1999) Guidelines for developing, testing and selecting criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. The Criteria and Indicators Toolbox. CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research), Bogor, p 186Google Scholar
  17. Smith JB, Lenhart SS (1996) Climate change adaptation policy options. Climate Research, 6(2):193–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Smit B, McNabb D, Smithers J (1996) Agricultural adaptation to climate change. Climatic Change 33:7–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. UNCCD (United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification) (2004) Comité para el examen de la aplicación de la aplicación de la convención. Notas de la secretaría (en línea). Consultado abril 2005. Disponible en:
  20. UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) (2003) Global Environmental Facility. User’s guidebook for the adaptation policy framework. UNDP, New York, p 40Google Scholar
  21. UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) (2004) Compendium on method and tools to evaluate impacts of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. Final draft report. UNFCC, New York, p 145Google Scholar
  22. Wesselink A (2005) Integration of interests and expertise in the adaptation to climate change in The Netherlands. Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, p 13Google Scholar
  23. World Food Programme (WFP) (2002) Standarized food and livelihood assessment in support of the Central American PRRO. WFP, Rome, p 59Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Benegas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francisco Jiménez
    • 1
  • Bruno Locatelli
    • 1
  • Jorge Faustino
    • 1
  • Max Campos
    • 1
  1. 1.Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education CenterCartagoCosta Rica

Personalised recommendations