Adaptation strategies to climatic variability: A case study of small-scale farmers in rural Mexico

Campos, M. et al. | Land Use Policy | 2014 | Peer Reviewed | Original research |


Climate change is predicted to have major consequences for small-scale farmers in the developing rural areas of the world. Rural areas, nonetheless, harbor opportunities to mitigate global climate changes. Identification of innovative adaptation strategies used by small-scale farmers, therefore, is crucial in order to understand the extent of their implications. This paper identifies the relationships between livelihood units and landscapes that they depend upon, in a small-scale farm community. It examines their experiences of increasing climatic variability, and how the different groups in the community are adapting to it. The study was conducted in a typical rural ejido community on the Pacific coast of Mexico (Ejido Ticuiz), where a detailed socio-cultural profile was obtained by means of semi-structured interviews. In the study area we encountered a range of individual and community-based adaptation strategies, built on farmers’ recognition of the different types of landscapes which supply goods and benefits. Small-scale farmers have used their landscape diversity to build adaptation strategies to guarantee the supply of goods and benefits to cope with uncertain of climate events. Households rather than individuals or the community as an institution were depicted as the core socio-cultural group for better understanding of patterns, behavior and aspirations related to climate change adaptation at local level. The adaptation capacities of rural communities could be significantly strengthened if political, financial and institutional support is targeted at households rather than at individuals or the community level only.