1779 Agroecology and Food Sovereignty for Mitigation of and Adaptation to Climate Change

Sunday, February 21, 2010: 8:50 AM
Room 6F (San Diego Convention Center)
Ivette Perfecto , University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
An inevitable consequence of global climate change is that altered patterns of temperature and precipitation threaten agriculture in many tropical regions, requiring strategies of human adaptation. Moreover, the process of management intensification in agriculture has increased and may exacerbate vulnerability to climate extremes. Although many solutions have been presented, the role of agroecological and agroforestry management has been largely ignored. Some recent literature has shown how agroecological management may improve resistance to extreme climate events, including hurricanes. The recent International Assessment on Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology (IAASTD) concluded that agroecological approaches are needed for reducing small farmer’s vulnerability to climate change. Rural social movements are also supporting agroecological methods as ways to reduce the impacts of climate change, and as an integral part of food sovereignty. We review the literature on agroecology as a strategy for mitigating the effects of climate change and use an example from the coffee agroforestry system to discuss how shade management in coffee systems mitigates the effects of extreme temperature and precipitation, thereby reducing the ecological and economic vulnerability of many rural farmers. Furthermore, we also explore how these traditional and improved agroecological systems can reduce green house gasses emissions as compared to industrial agriculture. We conclude that more traditional forms of agriculture, and improved agroecological systems can offer greater potential for mitigation of and adaptation to changing climate conditions.