Smallholder farmers’ perceptions of climate change and the roles of trees and agroforestry in climate risk adaptation: evidence from Bohol, Philippines

Lasco. R.D. et al. | Agroforestry Systems | 2016 | Peer Reviewed | Original research |


Recent studies have highlighted the importance of trees and agroforestry in climate change adaptation and mitigation. This paper analyzes how farmers, members of their households, and community leaders in the Wahig–Inabanga watershed, Bohol province in the Philippines perceive of climate change, and define and value the roles of trees in coping with climate risks. Focus group discussions revealed that farmers and community leaders had observed changes in rainfall and temperature over the years. They also had positive perceptions of tree roles in coping with climate change, with most timber tree species valued for regulating functions, while non-timber trees were valued as sources of food and income. Statistical analysis of the household survey results was done through linear probability models for both determinants of farmers’ perceived changes in climate, and perceived importance of tree roles in coping with climate risks. Perceiving of changes in rainfall was more likely among farmers who had access to electricity, had access to water for irrigation, and derived climate information from government agencies and mass media, and less likely among farmers who were members of farmers’ organizations. On the other hand, perceiving of an increase in temperature was more likely among famers who were members of women’s organizations and had more off/non-farm sources of income, and less likely among those who derived climate information from government agencies. Meanwhile, marginal effects of the regression on perceived importance of trees in coping with climate change revealed positively significant relationships with the following predictor variables: access to electricity, number of off/non-farm sources of income, having trees planted by household members, observed increase in temperature and decline in yield, and sourcing climate information from government agencies. In contrast, a negatively significant relationship was observed between recognition of the importance of tree roles, and level of education, and deriving income from tree products. In promoting tree-based adaptation, we recommend improving access to necessary inputs and resources, exploring the potentials of farmer-to-farmer extension, using participatory approaches to generate farmer-led solutions based on their experiences of climate change, and initiating government-led extension to farmers backed by non-government partners.