Project

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Resilient agriculture-based livelihoods and resilient agricultural landscapes? Adaptation to climate change in African agriculture

English title Resilient agriculture-based livelihoods and resilient agricultural landscapes? Adaptation to climate change in African agriculture
Applicant Ifejika Speranza Chinwe
Number 137068
Funding scheme Ambizione
Research institution Zentrum für Entwicklung und Umwelt Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Social geography and ecology
Start/End 01.04.2012 - 31.12.2016
Approved amount 567'857.00
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Keywords (10)

Resilience; Climate variability; Climate change; Agriculture; Landscape; Livelihoods; Food security; Adaptation; Vulnerability; Sub-Sahara Africa

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

Rainfall variability poses a challenge to agricultural production and ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa. Its projected increase in African drylands will likely worsen the precarious climatic conditions for crop production, thereby making food production conditions more volatile, increasing food insecurity and loss in ecosystem services. Resilience as a concept offers a way to measure how agricultural livelihoods and –landscapes successfully function or can function despite these climatic disturbances.

I use resilience to refer to the capacity of individuals, social groups or social–ecological systems to persist, adapt and function despite disturbances or changing conditions such as climate change. Resilience can be applied to livelihoods and landscapes. An agricultural landscape consists of several farm plots and other areas with no or different farming management. Since resilience cannot be directly measured, I will develop proxies and indicators for it. To capture resilient landscapes, indicators such as land cover or biomass can be used. This project hypothesises that resilient agricultural livelihoods correlate with resilient agricultural landscapes and identifies the factors for such positive relations. As existing resilience frameworks have limitations for research using a livelihood perspective, I will first re-configure resilience for livelihood-oriented research of social-ecological systems. I aim to analyse: (1) how agricultural livelihoods and -landscapes successfully function under droughts and floods; (2) whether and how such livelihoods and -landscapes correlate, and the roles of socio-economic factors, institutions and policies; (3) the implications of regional climate change projections and rainfall trends for building resilient livelihoods and landscapes; and (4) policy options for supporting and up-scaling such livelihoods and landscapes.

I will use past project sites on sustainable land management in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria to select cases for in-depth study. My methodology combines qualitative, quantitative and spatial data, derived from interviews, discussions, field measurements, digital maps and satellite images. I will use content analysis, statistical analysis and develop resilience indices.

The project contributes to the advancement of Human Geography and Development Studies by providing insights into the interactions between resilient agricultural livelihoods and -landscapes under conditions of increased rainfall variability. By reconceptualising and operationalizing resilience, it provides new analytical tools. It contributes to efforts to identify and upscale practices that sustain food production in sub-Saharan Africa.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
A Blueprint to Evaluate One Health.
Rüegg SR McMahon BJ Häsler B Esposito R Nielsen LR Ifejika Speranza C Ehlinger T Peyre M Ara (2017), A Blueprint to Evaluate One Health., in Front. Public Health, 5(20), 1-16.
Key features for more successful place-based sustainability research on social-ecological systems: a Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) perspective.
Balvanera P. T. M. Daw T. Gardner B. Martín-López A. Norström C. Ifejika Speranza M. Spierenb (2017), Key features for more successful place-based sustainability research on social-ecological systems: a Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) perspective., in Ecology and Society, 22(1)(14), 1-45.
Can conservation agriculture help in building above and belowground carbon stocks in Eastern Kenya?
Ouko C Kiteme B Ifejika Speranza C. Mukunga D.and Aynekulu E. (2015), Can conservation agriculture help in building above and belowground carbon stocks in Eastern Kenya?, Internal Working Paper, Centre for Training & Integrated Research in ASAL Development (CETRAD)., Nanyuki.
Climate ResilienceAssessment of Agriculture and Forestry Projects and Programmes (CRAAF). Background paper to the FAO.
Ifejika Speranza C. and Bockel L. (2015), Climate ResilienceAssessment of Agriculture and Forestry Projects and Programmes (CRAAF). Background paper to the FAO., FAO - Background paper, Rome.
Climate Smart Agriculture in the African Context
Williams T. O. Mul M. Cofie O. Kinyangi J. Zougmore R. Wamukoya G. Nyasimi M. Mapfumo P. (2015), Climate Smart Agriculture in the African Context, African Development Bank, Senegal.
An Indicator framework for assessing livelihood resilience in the context of social-ecological dynamics.
Ifejika Speranza C. Wiesmann U. and Rist S. (2014), An Indicator framework for assessing livelihood resilience in the context of social-ecological dynamics., in Global Environmental Change, 28, 109-119.
Chapter 2. Nigeria’s Changing Climate: Risks, Impacts & Adaptation in the Agriculture Sector.
Adegoke J. Jagtap S. Jimoh D. Ifejika Speranza C. Areola F. Ibe C. Abdulkadir A. Jibrin J. (2014), Chapter 2. Nigeria’s Changing Climate: Risks, Impacts & Adaptation in the Agriculture Sector., in In Adegoke J. Ibe C. and Araba A. (Editors) (ed.), A Report by The Advisory Committee on Agricultural Resilience in Nigeria (ACARN)., Abuja, Nigeria, 37-54.
Chapter 5: Agricultural Research and Technology Development for Climate Resilient Agriculture.
Vermeulen S. Abubakar Y. Conway G. Dziba L. Hoevel M. Ibe C. Ibrahim A. Olokor J. Ifejika Sp (2014), Chapter 5: Agricultural Research and Technology Development for Climate Resilient Agriculture., in In Adegoke J. Ibe C. and Araba A. (Editors) (ed.), A Report by The Advisory Committee on Agricultural Resilience In Nigeria (ACARN)., Abuja, Nigeria, 102-131.
Chapter 7: Policy Interventions in Support of Agricultural Resilience in Nigeria.
Ibe C. Adegoke J. Ifejika Speranza C. Shisanya C. Conway G. Vemeulen S. Araba D. Obatola P. (2014), Chapter 7: Policy Interventions in Support of Agricultural Resilience in Nigeria., in In Adegoke J. Ibe C. and Araba A. (Editors) (ed.), A Report by The Advisory Committee on Agricultural Resilience In Nigeria (ACARN)., Abuja, Nigeria, 150-200.
Master thesis: Land Management and Soil Organic Carbon Distribution on Slopes in Frienisberg.
de Chastonay Anne (2014), Master thesis: Land Management and Soil Organic Carbon Distribution on Slopes in Frienisberg., Master Thesis, Geography, University of Bern, Bern.
Master thesis: Mainstreaming Climate Change into Public Administration - A Vertical Analysis of Tanzania’s Agricultural Sector.
Schotte Sarah-Kay (2014), Master thesis: Mainstreaming Climate Change into Public Administration - A Vertical Analysis of Tanzania’s Agricultural Sector., Master thesis, Geogrphy, University of Bern, Bern.
Adaptation to Climate Change: Analysing Capacities in Africa
Ifejika Speranza Chinwe and Scholz Imme (2013), Adaptation to Climate Change: Analysing Capacities in Africa, in Regional Environmental Change, 13(3), 471-475.
Buffer capacity: capturing a dimension of resilience to climate change in African smallholder agriculture
Ifejika Speranza Chinwe (2013), Buffer capacity: capturing a dimension of resilience to climate change in African smallholder agriculture, in Regional Environmental Change, 13(3), 521-535.
Climate Resilience Assessment of Agriculture and Forestry Projects and Programmes (CRAAF). -An Expert Assessment Tool.
Ifejika Speranza C. and Bockel L., Climate Resilience Assessment of Agriculture and Forestry Projects and Programmes (CRAAF). -An Expert Assessment Tool., Centre for Development nd Environment Working paper., Bern.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
The Nigerian Environmental Study/Action Team (NEST) Nigeria (Africa)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Nairobi Kenya (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Department of Geography, University of Nigeria, Nsukka Nigeria (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture andFood Security (CCAFS), Nairobi, Kenya Kenya (Africa)
- Publication
Centre for Training and Integrated Research in Asrid and Semi-arid Lands Development (CETRAD) Kenya (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Institute of Reseource Assessement, University of Dar es Salaam Tanzania (Africa)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
EU Cost Action Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
The 2016 "Agricultural Resilience and Security in Nigeria" Conference, the Nigerian Environmental Study Action Team (NEST) and the Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Talk given at a conference Developing a solid research profile: personal reflections on improving international recognition. 26.10.2016 Abakaliki, Nigeria Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
The 2016 "Agricultural Resilience and Security in Nigeria" Conference, the Nigerian Environmental Study Action Team (NEST) and the Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Talk given at a conference Building Resilient Agricultural Systems in Nigeria - Contributions to Sustainable Development. 25.10.2016 Abakaliki, Nigeria Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
PECS Science conference 2015 - Social-ecological dynamics in the Anthropocene 3-5. November 2015. Talk given at a conference Daniel D. and Ifejika Speranza C. (04.11.2015) Land governance, power and social-ecological resilience in the Caroni Region, Trinidad. 04.11.2015 Stellenbosch, South Africa Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) Science conference 2015 - Social-ecological dynamics in the Anthropocene 3-5. November 2015. Stellenbosch, South Af Talk given at a conference Addressing Power in the Governance and Resilience of Social-Ecological Systems. (4.11.2015). 03.11.2015 Stellenbosch, South Africa Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
Trans-Domain COST Action TD1404 (NEOH). Training School on “Evaluation: Best practice approaches and applications in multiple disciplines” Individual talk Resilience Assessment. 26.06.2015 Cluj Napoca, Romania Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
EGU General Assembly 2015, 12 – 17 April 2015, Vienna, Austria Talk given at a conference Ifejika Speranza C., Kiteme B., Kimathi Mbae J., and Schmude M. (15.04.2015) Building resilience to social-ecological change through farmers’ learning practices in semi-arid Makueni County Kenya. 15.04.2015 Vienna, Austria Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
27. Treffen des Arbeitskreises Naturgefahren/-risiken der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geographie, 10./11.12.2014, FH Köln. Talk given at a conference Resilience and the Capacity for Learning. 10.12.2014 Fachhochschule Köln, Germany Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
ARTS Seminar Series, Agricultural Sciences and Resource Management in the Tropics and Subtropics Faculty of Agriculture – University of Bonn Individual talk Self-organisation in African Smallholder Agriculture - achievements, challenges and potentials for building resilience. 27.11.2014 University of Bonn, Germany Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
CCAFS Side Event on ‘Advancing readiness to fast-track climate smart agriculture in Africa’ during the UNFCCC SBSTA 40 meeting Talk given at a conference Current status of the science of adaptation in African agriculture 08.06.2014 Bonn, Germany Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
UNFCCC-related Side-event - Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance: Building Climate Change Resilience in Africa. Talk given at a conference Ensuring Food Security and Building Climate Resilience in Africa: the Role of Climate-Smart Agriculture. 30.05.2014 Gunnewig Hotel Bristol, Bonn, Germany Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
Adapting to Climate Change 3: Climate-Smart Development, World Universities Network Conference Talk given at a conference Building Resilience to Climatic Risks in African Drylands. 10.09.2013 Leeds, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
The Second Climate Smart Agriculture Global Science Conference, University of California, Davis. Talk given at a conference Resilience as a guiding principle for implementing practices and policies for climate variability and climate change in Africa. 20.03.2013 Davis, Carlifornia, USA, United States of America Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
8th Annual Conference of African Science Academies (AMASA-8) "‘Climate Change in Africa: Using Science to Reduce Climate Risks" Talk given at a conference Climate Risk Management in African Agriculture: Lessons for Improving Resilience. 12.11.2012 Lagos, Nigeria Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
17th African Good Governance Network (AGGN) workshop “Environmental Governance". Talk given at a conference Adaptation to Climate Change/Agriculture in Africa. 17.09.2012 Freiburg, Germany, Germany Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
32nd International Geographical Congress Talk given at a conference Adapting to climate change? The Kenyan agricultural extension services. 26.08.2012 Cologne, Germany, Germany Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
Gender perspectives in research for development (R4D), Annual Conference North-South Centre, ETH Zurich Talk given at a conference Underlying Factors for Gender Inequality in African Agriculture 12.06.2012 Zurich, Switzerland, Switzerland Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
Der Geographische Arbeitskreis Subsaharisches Afrika (AKSA) Jahrestagung 2012, Universität Wien, Talk given at a conference Trends and Patterns of Water Development Interventions in Laikipia County, Kenya. 13.04.2012 Vienna, Austria, Austria Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Wissensaustausch – Erfahrungen aus der Internationalen Zusammenarbeit im Afrikanischen Kontext. Stiftungs-Roundtable 2016 - Internationale Zusammenarbeit (IZA) - Konkrete Ansätze für globale Herausforderungen. Biovision Zurich. Talk 06.10.2016 Zurich, Switzerland Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
Discussant (11.06.2015) Sharing insights on the Commercialisation of Agricultural Extension Services in Nigeria, Nigeria Office Heinrich Böll Foundation Workshop 11.06.2015 Online Workshop, Nigeria Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;
Discussant: A Green Revolution for Africa? - How to boost the productivity of African agriculture? Expert Roundtable and Public Discussion. Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and INISA. Talk 28.08.2014 Berlin, Germany Ifejika Speranza Chinwe;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Wissensaustausch – Erfahrungen aus der Internationalen Zusammenarbeit im Afrikanischen Kontext. German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Other activities Resilience in an environmental context- To Paul Basken,Reporter USA Chronicle of higher education International 2013

Awards

Title Year
Handling editor: Regional Environmental Change 2017
Member Advisory Group (2016) Changing Course in Global Agriculture programme (CCGA), implemented by Biovision and the Millennium Institute 2016
Visiting Professorship (2016) Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds 2016
Member of the Scientific Committee of the International Council for Science (ICSU) Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS). http://www.pecs-science.org/ ; http://www.pecs-science.org/aboutus/organisation/scientificcommittee.4.1a508a66139b5dba5cb68ae.html 2014
Member of the Advisory Committee on Agricultural Resilience in Nigeria (ACARN) - Agricultural Resilience Initiative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (FMARD), Nigeria. 2013

Abstract

This project departs from the hypothesis that resilient agriculture-based livelihoods correlate with resilient agricultural landscapes and identifies the factor constellations relevant for such positive relations. It does so using the concept of resilience which is increasingly recognised in Human Geography and Development Studies. However, existing conceptualisations of resilience have limitations for research that departs from a livelihood perspective. Such limitations include the heavy focus on vulnerability and risk, the conceptualisation of resilience as the time a system requires to return to its pre-disturbance state or as the size of a perturbation required to shift a system to another state governed by other variables. I attempt to address this conceptual gap by re-configuring and operationalizing resilience for livelihood-oriented research of social-ecological systems. Thus, the project has the following research objectives: (1) it examines whether and how resilient agricultural livelihoods translate to resilient landscapes and in what ways; (2) it examines how socio-economic factors, institutions and policies affect farmer capacity to create resilient livelihoods and -landscapes; (3) it explores the implications of existing regional climate change projections and rainfall trends for building resilient livelihoods and landscapes under different socio-economic scenarios, and (4) it explores policy options for improving the resilience of livelihoods and landscapes to climate change. Building on various strands of scientific inquiry, I use resilience to refer to the capacity of individuals, social groups or social-ecological systems to absorb (withstand, live with) disturbances while retaining the same basic structure and ways of functioning (the ability to persist and the ability to adapt), the capacity for self-organisation, and the capacity to adapt to stress and change. Resilience thus comprises three features: buffer capacity, self-organisation and the capacity for learning. Since resilience is a normative concept and an inferred scientific construct that cannot be directly observed or measured I will develop proxies and indicators for measuring the resilience of agriculture-based livelihoods and landscapes to climate change. I draw on the concepts of vulnerability, ecosystem services, adaptation, adaptive capacity, agency and structure as well as livelihood approaches and related concepts to underpin the analysis of resilience. Resilient landscapes will also be captured using the same concept of resilience but with criteria and indicators relevant to the landscape context. Three broad groups of factors can be used for characterising resilient landscapes - ecological, socio-economic and institutional. Ecological factors include diversity, connectivity, and biomass. Socio-economic factors include wealth, social networks, trust between individuals, or access to different types of capital. Institutional factors focus on the ability of formal and informal institutions to mitigate or to support local actors mitigate perturbations. I adopt a case study approach whereby I will use past project sites on conservation agriculture technologies and sustainable land management in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria. Based on defined socio-ecological zones, three to four project sites for in-depth analysis will be selected, each for a distinct socio-ecological zone. My methodology combines the use of qualitative and quantitative data, point- and spatial data, derived through interviews, focus group discussions, field point measurements and GIS and remote sensing data. I will thus not only use content analysis but also conduct statistical analysis ranging from descriptive statistics to factor and cluster analysis. A resilient livelihoods index and a resilient landscape index will be developed and correlated to test the hypothesis. The project makes thematic as well as methodological and policy contributions. If the hypothesis holds true that resilient livelihoods translate to resilient landscapes then policies need to be more geared to supporting farmers to improve ecosystem services. Methodologically, the further improvement of the resilience check - an analytical tool for capturing the resilience of adaptations to change (in this project case, climate change) increases the body of tools available in Human Geography and Development studies. I plan to carry out the research in the Integrative Geography research group of the institute of Geography, University of Bern.
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