Buffer capacity: capturing a dimension of resilience to climate change in African smallholder agriculture

Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe (2013). Buffer capacity: capturing a dimension of resilience to climate change in African smallholder agriculture. Regional environmental change, 13(3), pp. 521-535. Springer-Verlag 10.1007/s10113-012-0391-5

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Building resilience to climate change in agricultural production can ensure the functioning of agricultural-based livelihoods and reduce their vulnerability to climate change impacts. This paper thus explores how buffer capacity, a characteristic feature of resilience, can be conceptualised and used for assessing the resilience of smallholder agriculture to climate change. It uses the case of conservation agriculture farmers in a Kenyan region and examines how their practices contribute to buffer capacity. Surveys were used to collect data from 41 purposely selected conservation agriculture farmers in the Laikipia region of Kenya. Besides descriptive statistics, factor analysis was used to identify the key dimensions that characterise buffer capacity in the study context. The cluster of practices characterising buffer capacity in conservation agriculture include soil protection, adapted crops, intensification/irrigation, mechanisation and livelihood diversification. Various conservation practices increase buffer capacity, evaluated by farmers in economic, social, ecological and other dimensions. Through conservation agriculture, most farmers improved their productivity and incomes despite drought, improved their environment and social relations. Better-off farmers also reduced their need for labour, but this resulted in lesser income-earning opportunities for the poorer farmers, thus reducing the buffer capacity and resilience of the latter.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Integrative Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Integrative Geography > Unit Geography of Sustainable Development

UniBE Contributor:

Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics

ISSN:

1436-3798

Publisher:

Springer-Verlag

Language:

English

Submitter:

Users 124 not found.

Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2014 15:22

Last Modified:

31 Jan 2019 14:22

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s10113-012-0391-5

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Buffer capacity, Resilience, Climate change, Adaptation, Conservation agriculture, Kenya, Africa

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.46570

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/46570

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