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Adaptation options in agriculture to climate change: a typology

  • Barry Smit
  • Mark W. Skinner
Article

Abstract

Adaptation in agriculture to climate change is important for impact andvulnerability assessment and for the development of climate change policy. A wide variety of adaptation options has been proposed as having thepotential to reduce vulnerability of agricultural systems to risks related toclimate change, often in an ad hoc fashion. This paper develops atypology of adaptation to systematically classify and characterize agriculturaladaptation options to climate change, drawing primarily on the Canadiansituation. In particular, it differentiates adaptation options in agricultureaccording to the involvement of different agents (producers, industries,governments); the intent, timing and duration of employment of theadaptation; the form and type of the adaptive measure; and the relationshipto processes already in place to cope with risks associated with climatestresses. A synthesis of research on adaptation options in Canadianagriculture identifies four main categories: (i) technological developments,(ii) government programs and insurance, (iii) farm production practices,and (iv) farm financial management. In addition to these `directadaptations', there are options, particularly information provision, that maystimulate adaptation initiatives. The results reveal that most adaptationoptions are modifications to on-going farm practices and public policydecision-making processes with respect to a suite of changing climatic(including variability and extremes) and non-climatic conditions (political,economic and social). For progress on implementing adaptations to climatechange in agriculture there is a need to better understand the relationshipbetween potential adaptation options and existing farm-level andgovernment decision-making processes and risk management frameworks.

adaptation agriculture Canada climate change policy response options typology 

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  • Barry Smit
  • Mark W. Skinner

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