Understanding how farmers adapt to weather variability

Understanding how farmers adapt to weather variability

March 6, 2015

Weather changes and the risks they pose are one of the biggest variables in agriculture. In many cases, farmers can reduce some of these risks by adapting their cropping practices to be more compatible with weather situations.

But not all farmers react to weather changes the same way. To better identify how farmers make weather-related decisions, two CHANS-Net researchers and their colleagues developed a framework to understand the causes and consequences of the decisions.

"We found that there was significant diversity in how farmers respond to inter-annual variability in the monsoon, and responses varied with farmers' assets, irrigation access, perceptions of weather, and risk aversion,” said Meja Jain, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Environmental System Science at Stanford University, CHANS-Net member and corresponding author. “Our framework illustrates the importance of considering the complexity and heterogeneity of individual decision-making when conducting climate impact assessments or when developing policies to enhance the adaptive capacity of local communities to future climate variability and change."

Understanding the causes and consequences of differential decision-making in adaptation research: Adapting to a delayed monsoon onset in Gujarat, India” is published in the March 2015 issue of Global Environmental Change. Other authors are CHANS-Net Advisory Board member Ruth DeFries, Denning Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia University; and Shahid Naeem, Ben Orlove and Vijay Modi, all of Columbia University.