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Crop and tree species diversification for climate risk management


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A presentation by Bioversity International scientist Maarten van Zonneveld about diversification for climate change adaptation. Different strategies may work for different communities. It is important to discuss with relevant stakeholders and determine the most appropriate actions to take. This was presented at the VII Inter-American scientific Henry A.Wallace Conference Series in CATIE, Costa Rica. Read more about Bioversity International’s work on climate change:

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Crop and tree species diversification for climate risk management

  1. 1. Crop and tree species diversification for climate risk management Maarten van Zonneveld, PhD 2 October 2013
  2. 2. Agriculture, food security and climate change • 100 % increase in food production to feed 9 billion people in 2050 • Climate change threats agricultural production • Smallholders are the principal agents of agricultural production • Climate change impacts for smallholders are difficult to predict • Agriculture is a risky business and becomes more risky under climate change Hardaker et al. 2004; Morton 2007; Godfray et al. 2010; Lobell et al. 2011
  3. 3. Crop and tree diversification as climate risk management strategy Cultivation of a portfolio of cultivated crops and trees reduces risk: • Sum of risks is less than individual crop risks • Production stabilization and optimization
  4. 4. Diversification for climate change adaptation at different geographic scales Farm level: -Risk management -Microclimate improvement Landscape level: -Reduced pressure of pest and diseases -Topoclimate regulation Administrative unit level: -Risk reduction for financial investment
  5. 5. Targeting interventions for climate adaptation Switch crops Diversification to create option value Diversification to manage risk Diversification to create option value and manage risk Switch crops and/or shift livelihoods Off-farm diversification Optimal production conditions Marginal production conditions High climate uncertainty Low climate uncertainty
  6. 6. Crop diversification portfolio Low risk - strategic advantage High risk - maintain competitiveness Food security and commodity crops Climate vulnerable crops Crops for the future High-value crops Photo credits:, wikipedia Low risk - maintain competitiveness High risk - strategic advantage
  7. 7. Crop introduction Non traditional export high value crops & Photo credits: wikipedia Under-researched crops
  8. 8. Diversity within crops: rescue and promotion of native Capsicum peppers in the Andes Understand and conserve diversity Identify promising material Identify markets and understand value chains Multi-stakeholder platforms Good agricultural practices and postharvesting
  9. 9. Farmers may have several disincentives to diversify for climate change adaptation • Other risk reducing mechanisms in place: crop insurance • Short-term investment costs for long-term benefits • Non-climate related risks • Economy of scale favors specialization • No seed material • Others Need for diversification planning tools that take in account farmers´ interest in different aspects and input from multiple stakeholders Bradshaw et al. (2004)
  10. 10. Topics of action & research interest
  11. 11. Development of diversification strategies with communities and relevant stakeholders Photo credits: Marcela Beltran;;; wikipedia; fao Participatory mapping of climate vulnerability and opportunities Identify suitable crops under current and future conditions Diversification strategies under different future scenarios Market risks and info 1 2 3 4 Functional diversity Check seed availability Introduction of cheap climate monitoring technology
  12. 12. Institutionalization of diversification strategies Reduced risks should stimulate investment in smallholder agriculture • Collaboration with national and local governmental bodies • Financial products • Innovation funds Photo credit:
  13. 13. Diversification policies Diversification at landscape level for climate change adaptation
  14. 14. Diversification at landscape level for climate change adaptation What are optimal landscape structures to regulate topoclimates? How does diversification at landscape level affect pest and disease pressure and its biological control?
  15. 15. Summary: principal action and research interest 1. Development of crop and tree species diversification strategies with communities and relevant stakeholders 2. Institutionalization of diversification plans 3. Diversification at landscape level
  16. 16. Thank you