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  • Author: Steve Jennings, John Magrath
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The timing of rain, and intra-seasonal rainfall patterns are critical to smallholder farmers in developing countries. Seasonality influences farmers' decisions about when to cultivate and sow and harvest. It ultimately contributes to the success or failure of their crops. Worryingly, therefore, farmers are reporting that both the timing of rainy seasons and the pattern of rains within seasons are changing. These perceptions of change are striking in that they are geographically widespread and because the changes are described in remarkably consistent terms. In this paper, we relate the perceptions of farmers from several regions(East Asia, South Asia, Southern and East Africa, and Latin America) of how seasons are changing, and in some cases, how once distinct seasons appear to be disappearing altogether, and the impacts that these changes are having. We then go on to ask two critical questions. Firstly, do meteorological observations support farmers' perceptions of changing seasonality? Secondly, to what extent are these changes consistent with predictions from climate models? We conclude that changing seasonality may be one of the major impacts of climate change faced by smallholder farmers in developing countries over the next few decades. Indeed, this may already be the case. Yet it is relatively unexplored in the literature. We also suggest some of the key adaptation responses that might help farmers cope with these changes.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, East Asia, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Bolivia is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change for six basic reasons: It is one of the poorest countries in Latin America and suffers from one of the worst patterns of inequality. Low-income groups in developing countries are the most exposed to climate change impacts. It is the country in South America with the highest percentage of indigenous people, where much of the poverty and inequality is concentrated. It is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, with a wide variety of ecosystems that are vulnerable to different impacts from climate change. More than half of the country is Amazonian, with high levels of deforestation which adds to the vulnerability to flooding. Located in a climatically volatile region, it is one of the countries in the world most affected by 'natural' disasters in recent years. It is home to about twenty per cent of the world's tropical glaciers, which are retreating more quickly than predicted by many experts.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Bolivia, Amazon Basin