From Rainforests to Drylands: Comparing Family Farmers’ Perceptions of Climate Change in Three Brazilian Biomes

  • Gabriela LitreEmail author
  • Stéphanie Nasuti
  • Catherine A. Gucciardi Garcez
  • Diego Pereira Lindoso
  • Flávio Eiró
  • Jane Simoni
  • Carolina Joana da Silva
  • Cristiane Lima Façanha
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Risk perceptions influence individual and collective adaptive responses to climate hazards. Up to now, the majority of literature addressing climate change perception and adaptation has been location-specific. Such an approach is limited with respect to the construction of a generalized theory around why and how people perceive and act towards climate change risks. This chapter seeks to contribute to overcome this limitation by offering a cross-sectional study of climate change risks perceptions among smallholder farmers settled in three contrasting biomes in Brazil: the Amazon (rainforest); the Caatinga (semi-arid); and the Cerrado (savanna). By articulating regional, local and micro scales of comparison, common traits in the perception of climate variability are identified. It is not intended, at this stage, to validate particular theories of climate change, but rather to contribute to a better understanding of climate change as a trans-regional and socially embedded environmental phenomenon. This study shows that, in spite of existing perceptive barriers, smallholders settled in dramatically different contexts share perceptions about risks linked to the following phenomena: (i) changes in the timing of seasons, (ii) decrease in rainfall levels; (iii) temperature rises. Moreover, there are specific adaptation strategies to climate change, like the timing of seeding, which appear to be addressed independently by smallholders of the three biomes. Public policies intended to support adaptive measures and the increase of food security must take subjective risk perception into account within the cultural and environmental contexts of the actors involved.


Smallholders Climate change perceptions Adaptation Food security Amazon Caatinga Cerrado 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriela Litre
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stéphanie Nasuti
    • 1
  • Catherine A. Gucciardi Garcez
    • 1
  • Diego Pereira Lindoso
    • 1
  • Flávio Eiró
    • 2
  • Jane Simoni
    • 1
  • Carolina Joana da Silva
    • 3
  • Cristiane Lima Façanha
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre for Sustainable DevelopmentUniversity of BrasiliaBrasíliaBrazil
  2. 2.Centre Maurice HalbwachsÉcole des Hautes Études en Sciences SocialesParisFrance
  3. 3.Centro de Pesquisa de Limnologia, Biodiversidade e Etnobiologia do PantanalUniversidade do Estado de Mato GrossoCáceresBrazil
  4. 4.Rede BionorteUniversidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM)ManausBrazil

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