New indicators of vulnerability and resilience of agroforestry systems to climate change in West Africa
Climate change threatens ecosystems, including traditional agroforestry parklands. Assessing the level of vulnerability and resilience of any ecosystem to climate change is important for designing sustainable adaptation strategies and measures. We assessed farmers’ perceptions of the vulnerability of agroforestry systems to climate change in Benin. The objectives of the study were to (i) assess the effect of changes in climatic conditions on agroforestry systems, (ii) assess the endogenous indicators of vulnerability of agroforestry systems to climate change, and (iii) analyze agroforestry and cropping systems’ resilience to climate change. We hypothesized that some agroforestry systems are more resilient to climate change than others. A total of 233 household heads were surveyed, and seven agroforestry systems were assessed. Data collected included components, indicators of vulnerability, and the level of resilience of agroforestry systems. We characterized the agroforestry systems using a proportion of each woody trees species and density of tree. We differentiated the agroforestry systems with regard to vulnerability indicators using canonical factorial discriminant analysis with heplots for pairs of discriminant variables. The resilience of agroforestry and cropping systems was evaluated on a scale of 0 to 3 (0—not resilient to 3—most resilient). The number of components damaged in the system was the main indicator of the vulnerability of Anacardium occidentale and Citrus sinensis parks to climate change effects. Local people perceived age and density of Vitellaria paradoxa parks and mixed parks (Vitellaria paradoxa–Parkia biglobosa) as factors determining the vulnerability of these agroforestry systems to the effects of climate change. All agroforestry systems were perceived to be resilient to climate change but in different degrees. Manihot esculenta was reported as the most resilient crop to climate damage. For the first time, we found out specific endogenous indicators of the vulnerability of agroforestry systems to climate change, which are important to identify better adaptation strategies.
KeywordsAgroforestry systems Climate change Traditional ecological knowledge Ecosystem services Food security
This paper is an output of the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (WECARD) program for improvement of the resilience to climate change of agricultural ecosystems along catchment areas by participative development of anti-erosive and soil fertility management in agroforestry systems in six West African countries. We are grateful to the respondents.
The World Bank provided contribution in funding this project.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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