Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Change Globally, React Locally: Researchers Find African Farmers Need Better Climate Change Data to Improve Farming Practices

16.03.2012
Researchers from the University of New Hampshire have found that many African farmers inaccurately perceive changes in climate and rainfall when compared with scientific data, highlighting the need for better climate information to assist them to improve farming practices.

“Quantifying local people’s perceptions to climate change, and their assessments of which changes matter, is fundamental to addressing the dual challenge of land conservation and poverty alleviation in densely populated tropical regions,” said Joel Hartter, assistant professor of geography at UNH and the principal investigator on the project.

The research is presented in the online journal PLoS ONE in the article “Patterns and Perceptions of Climate Change in a Biodiversity Conservation Hotspot.” In addition to Hartter, the research team also includes Mary Stampone, assistant professor of geography at UNH and New Hampshire state climatologist; Sadie Ryan of the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California Santa Barbara; Karen Kirner of the University of Florida; Colin Chapman of McGill University and the Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, New York; and Abraham Goldman of the University of Florida.

The researchers investigated farming practices and perceptions of climate change in the Albertine Rift region in East Africa, one of the world’s most threatened biodiversity hotspots due to dense agriculture, high levels of land and resource pressures, and habitat loss and conversion. This leads to high potential for conservation conflict. They relied on three separate household surveys conducted in the vicinity of Kibale National Park, a small forest park along the equator in Uganda known for its large population of endangered chimpanzees.

The researchers found that farmers are concerned with variable precipitation. Many survey respondents reported that conditions are drier and rainfall timing is becoming less predictable.

“Perceptions of local farmers are important because farmers often manage land according to their perceptions and beliefs. In these communities, meteorological information from the scientific community is rarely available, and farmers rely on their own observations and subjective interpretations,” Hartter said.

However, an analysis of daily rainfall data for the period 1981 to 2010 indicated that total rainfall both within and across seasons has not changed significantly, although the timing and transitions of seasons has been highly variable. Results of rainfall data analysis also indicated significant changes in the intra-seasonal rainfall distribution, including longer dry periods within rainy seasons, which may contribute to the perceived decrease in rainfall and can compromise food security.

Local variation in rainfall is not captured by large-scale measurements used in climate research. However, it is the local information that is used to make planting and harvesting decisions, and therefore has the highest impact on food security.

“Our results highlight the need for fine-scale climate information to assist agro-ecological communities in developing effective adaptive management,” Hartter said. “If we can provide farmers with more relevant and physically accurate information, it could lead to more sustainable land use management practices.”

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.

PHOTOS
http://www.unh.edu/news/img/hartter_map.jpg
Seven national parks in the Albertine Rift of East Africa that are part of the research study area. Kibale National Park, the primary focus of this project, is a refuge for endangered chimpanzees and other primates but surrounded by some of the densest rural populations in Africa.
http://www.unh.edu/news/img/hartter_a.jpg
Hartter conducts an interview with his field assistant and interpreter Peace Mwesigwe with a local resident from the Bakiga tribe in a village near Kibale National Park.
http://www.unh.edu/news/img/hartter_b.jpg
Hartter speaks with with his long-time field assistant and interpreter Erimosi Agaba.
Joel Hartter
UNH Department of Geography
joel.hartter@unh.edu
Please contact Lori Wright at lori.wright@unh.edu for a copy of the journal article or download it directly at http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0032408.

Joel Hartter | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.unh.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Raiding the rape field
23.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht New technique reveals details of forest fire recovery
17.05.2018 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>