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

Farming System Evolution and Adaptive Capacity: Insights for Adaptation Support

1
Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
2
Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 December 2013 / Revised: 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. View Full-Text
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 (CC BY 3.0).

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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.

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