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 Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
16.07.2018 | UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

nachricht Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>