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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5374
Vol. 14, No. 1, 2014, pp. 8459-8473
Bioline Code: nd14003
Full paper language: English
Document type: Review Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2014, pp. 8459-8473

 en WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE MEANS FOR FARMERS IN AFRICA: A TRIPTYCH REVIEW RIGHT PANEL: CLIMATE EXTREMES AND SOCIETY’S RESPONSES, INCLUDING MITIGATION ATTEMPTS AS PART OF PREPAREDNESS OF AFRICAN FARMERS
Stigter, CJ & Ofori, E

Abstract

In this paper in three parts, climate change is approached by dealing with the three sides from which the danger comes: (i) global warming, (ii) increasing climate variability, (iii) more (and possibly more severe) meteorological and climatological extreme events. These are the three panels of this triptych review and the right panel on climate extremes and society’s responses, including mitigation attempts as part of preparedness of African farmers, is this part. The occurrence of more (and possibly more severe) extreme meteorological/climatological events, as another likely consequence of climate change, is discussed, reviewing the literature and dealing for Africa with recent droughts and famines. It appears that there is more than sufficient proof that the numbers of disasters have risen globally, and on average at an increasing rate, over the last half a century, with more evidence in the later decades. Extreme hazards have a shorter recurrence time but whether they also have become more severe cannot be easily determined. This is due to developments in observations, populations and vulnerabilities and lack of developments in climate models. Only for increased temperature related disasters, severity has clearly become larger. However, recent more realistic calculations appear to suggest that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years. In physical terms, there is also little or no evidence of increased severity of floods over the past century. Increasing farmer preparedness will be an important part of better responses to these conditions. The traditional response farming as to droughts, floods (annual recession and recurrent occasional ones), strong winds and other serious disasters should be among starting points. At the end of this paper, the contributions that tropical agriculture can make to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) in win-win situations are also dealt with. Soil carbon sequestration has a higher mitigation potential than emission reductions in African agriculture, although both may be important. These are best achieved under management systems with higher carbon density, as well as improved soil conservation. Agroforestry, assisted natural regeneration, forest rehabilitation, forest gardens, and improved forest fallow projects should all be eligible under the Clean Development Mechanism. Throughout the paper text boxes are used that illustrate local conditions that must be taken into account to understand the impacts/consequences of climate change for African farmers and how they may cope with them.

Keywords
Disasters; extreme events; famine; mitigation

 
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