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Resources 2014, 3(1), 182-214; doi:10.3390/resources3010182
Article

Farming System Evolution and Adaptive Capacity: Insights for Adaptation Support

1,2,* , 1
 and 2
Received: 18 December 2013; in revised form: 8 February 2014 / Accepted: 12 February 2014 / Published: 27 February 2014
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Abstract: Studies of climate impacts on agriculture and adaptation often provide current or future assessments, ignoring the historical contexts farming systems are situated within. We investigate how historical trends have influenced farming system adaptive capacity in Uganda using data from household surveys, semi-structured interviews, focus-group discussions and observations. By comparing two farming systems, we note three major findings: (1) similar trends in farming system evolution have had differential impacts on the diversity of farming systems; (2) trends have contributed to the erosion of informal social and cultural institutions and an increasing dependence on formal institutions; and (3) trade-offs between components of adaptive capacity are made at the farm-scale, thus influencing farming system adaptive capacity. To identify the actual impacts of future climate change and variability, it is important to recognize the dynamic nature of adaptation. In practice, areas identified for further adaptation support include: shift away from one-size-fits-all approach the identification and integration of appropriate modern farming method; a greater focus on building inclusive formal and informal institutions; and a more nuanced understanding regarding the roles and decision-making processes of influential, but external, actors. More research is needed to understand farm-scale trade-offs and the resulting impacts across spatial and temporal scales.
Keywords: farming systems; adaptive capacity; Uganda; adaptation; agriculture; resilience; vulnerability; institutions; climate impacts; climate change farming systems; adaptive capacity; Uganda; adaptation; agriculture; resilience; vulnerability; institutions; climate impacts; climate change
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Dixon, J.L.; Stringer, L.C.; Challinor, A.J. Farming System Evolution and Adaptive Capacity: Insights for Adaptation Support. Resources 2014, 3, 182-214.

AMA Style

Dixon JL, Stringer LC, Challinor AJ. Farming System Evolution and Adaptive Capacity: Insights for Adaptation Support. Resources. 2014; 3(1):182-214.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dixon, Jami L.; Stringer, Lindsay C.; Challinor, Andrew J. 2014. "Farming System Evolution and Adaptive Capacity: Insights for Adaptation Support." Resources 3, no. 1: 182-214.


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