Linking climate change research with food security and poverty reduction in the tropics

Sanchez, Pedro A
Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
Publication Year: 
Climate change is a reality and will affect the poor in developing countries in many ways. The effectiveness of global change research could be substantially improved by linking International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) study with Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centres based in the tropics. These centres are carrying interdisciplinary research and development on how to achieve food security and reduce rural poverty through the innovative management of natural resources. A CGIAR intercentre working group on climate change (ICWG-CC) identified joint opportunities that take advantage of the comparative advantages of both institutions. CGIAR centres will focus on adaptation and mitigation research in developing countries. A natural resource management research approach is suggested, which consists of six steps: (1) identifying and quantifying the extent of food insecurity, rural poverty and resource degradation; (2) conducting technological and policy research on economic and environmental functions; (3) optimising the trade-offs between global environmental benefits and private farmer benefits; (4) extrapolating and disseminating results, including research on policy implementation; (5) assessing impact and (6) providing feedback. Two examples of current CGIAR research illustrate this approach. Agroforestry alternatives to slash and burn (ASB) agriculture at tropical forest margins were identified and the trade-offs between carbon sequestration and farmer profitability provided options to policy makers. Land tenure problems were resolved with participatory policy research. Agroforestry practices sequester an additional 57 Mg C per ha, three times that of croplands or grasslands are able to do. Soil nutrient capital is being replenished in subhumid tropical Africa through improved leguminous tree fallows, rock phosphate and biomass transfers of Tithonia diversifolia, helping farmers to attain food security. Afterwards, when farmers shift to high-value tree or vegetable crop production, poverty is reduced. The transformation of low productivity croplands to sequential agroforestry is estimated to triple system carbon stocks in 20 years.
Name of Journal: 
Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
no. 1-3
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Grassland Society of Southern Africa

The Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) is involved and concerned with the science and practice of range and pasture management. This broad field involves primarily the use and conservation of natural resources. It encompasses applied fields such as livestock production, wildlife management, nature conservation, water catchment management and range and mine-dump rehabilitation. The disciplines include, amongst others, ecology, botany zoology, range and pasture science, animal science, soil science and genetics. This collection includes journal articles from the African Journal of Range and Forage Science as well as related articles and reports from throughout the Southern African region.