Mar 7, 2016

Timescales of transformational climate change adaptation in sub-Saharan African agriculture

Ulrike Rippke, Julian Ramirez-Villegas, Andy Jarvis, Sonja J. Vermeulen, Louis Parker, Flora Mer, Bernd Diekkrüger, Andrew J. Challinor, Mark Howden
Nature Climate Change
  • Develops a temporal uncertainty framework using the CMIP5 ensemble to assess when and where cultivation of key crops in sub-Saharan Africa becomes unviable
  • Reports potential transformational changes for all major crops during the twenty-first century, as climates shift and areas become unsuitable
  • Finds that for most crops, transformation is limited to small pockets (<15% of area)
  • Finds that transformation is more widespread only for beans, maize and banana (~30% area for maize and banana, 60% for beans)
  • Envisages three overlapping adaptation phases to enable projected transformational changes: an incremental adaptation phase focused on improvements to crops and management, a preparatory phase that establishes appropriate policies and enabling environments, and a transformational adaptation phase in which farmers substitute crops, explore alternative livelihoods strategies, or relocate
  • States monitoring capacities to track farming systems as well as climate are needed to best align policies with production triggers for no-regret actions