ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF AFRICA, OCEANIA AND THE AMERICAS OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM

Anthropology, Weather & Climate Change

(P19)
Agriculture and Climate Change
Location Senate House - G21A
Date and Start Time 28 May, 2016 at 14:30
Sessions 2

Convenor

  • Hyun-Gwi Park (Chung-Ang University) email

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Discussant Martin Skrydstrup

Short Abstract

Climate change and weather are central to agriculture, as they directly influence the livelihood of the people and the production of food. This Panel explores how the impact of climate change and weather is perceived and understood in agriculture-related communities in different contexts.

Long Abstract

Agriculture occupies a central stage in the discussion of climate change, not only because it is the means of livelihood which has been directly influenced by climate change, but also because modern industrialised agriculture is regarded as part of the problem underlying climate change and other environmental issues. This intersection of agriculture and climate change is not exceptional but is commonly found in various aspects of human life, which gives the discourse on climate change a more powerful and anthropological dimension, since these aspects are both influenced by climate change and part of it. Therefore, this Panel addresses some problems pertaining to agriculture in relation to climate change at two levels. Firstly, papers in the Panel discuss various ways that climate change is experienced and perceived by people in diverse settings of agriculture and forestry. Secondly, the papers explore climate change as a narrative model in addressing agriculture-related issues. However, the forms of influence of climate change at these two levels are usually interwoven and mixed in practice, not only among agriculturalists who work with climate change and weather variants, but also among other actors such as scientists and policy makers who work on the issue of climate change and agriculture. By examining diverse cases dealing with the relationship between agriculture and climate change/weather, this Panel explicates the intersections between climate change as experienced and perceived by people in agriculture and forestry, and climate change as a model to determine and change the practices and experiences of agriculture.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Impact of Conservation Agriculture on Physical, Chemical Properties of Soils of Morocco (Meknes Ain- Bitit)

Authors: Ibtissame Lembaid (INRA/FSR)  email
Rachid Mrabet (INRA)  email

Short Abstract

Moroccan agriculture remains a heavyweight in the economy; however, it faces major challenges (intensive plowing, climate change) .The National Plan against global warming offers improved productivity and sustainability crop systems through the adaptation of conservation agriculture techniques.

Long Abstract

Agricultural systems are subject to a wide range of risks and uncertainties in most parts of the Mediterranean basin that characterizes almost all the Moroccan territory. This region is experiencing climate change that in no way can be considered normal, and the challenge that this brings to agriculture is twofold. The first challenge relates to the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that generate the changes to climate. The second challenge relates to the impacts of climate change on production, and the capacity of agriculture to adapt where it is most vulnerable. Strategies for sustainable management include conserving soil organic matter, minimizing erosion, enhancing soil fertility and balancing production with environmental needs, especially drought. It is agreed upon that no-tillage agricultural ecosystems have the potential to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and partially mitigate global climatic change. Climate change will become an additional driver for developing no-tillage practice across the Mediterranean basin, as land managers respond to the impacts of climate change on their production base, and governments undertake a range of activities to address the impacts of climate change in agriculture and land management.

In Morocco most farmers in arid planting areas using intensive tillage practices that negatively influence on many physical and chemical properties of soil. This study aims to characterize the impact of farming practices on the structural stability of organic matter. Two tillage types were compared: conventional tillage (CT), No tillage (NT) with crop rotation Chickpea- durum wheat.

Crop ontologies, ontography or biosemiotics? - Towards a new ethnography of agriculture

Author: Dong Ju Kim (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)  email

Short Abstract

Based on fieldwork in rural Poland, I argue that there is a way to integrate ethnography, biosemiotics, and ontologies by looking at the ways multiple paradigms and views of soil and crop coexist and how they are applied and invoked in different situations.

Long Abstract

After the so-called Green Revolution, land erosion and land exhaustion have become a problem in rural areas where intensive cultivation has continued for a long time. In response, alternative ways of cultivating are explored. From the viewpoint of farmers, however, these are often reduced to calculations of nutrients, prices, and profits. For ethnographers of agriculture, this situation may look like an impasse because they are left with interpretations around agricultural economics, global trade policies, and neglect of rural areas in neoliberal regimes of rural politics.

In this paper, I try to overcome the native's point of view in rural ethnography and suggest that biosemiotics has much to offer for future approaches to a more environmentally oriented ethnography of agriculture. Until now, biosemiotics has mostly been neglected in rural ethnographies, and biosemiotics itself has focused more on cutting-edge biological advances. However, based on my fieldwork in rural Poland, I argue that there is a way to integrate these approaches by looking at the myriad of choices farmers face every season. Polish farmers now know the limitations of the chemical paradigm of soil nutrients and have started to take account of the role of microbes in the soil. I will describe how several ways of viewing and treating the soil coexist and how they are applied and invoked in different situations on farms. Using the concept of "thought styles," I explore the ways alternative knowledge is learned, evaluated, and accepted, and how popular notions of soil change through this process.

Improved climate resilience of Indonesian farmers through Science Field Shops, a new participatory extension approach

Authors: Kees (C.J.) Stigter (Universitas Indonesia)  email
Yunita Triwardani Winarto (Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Indonesia)  email

Short Abstract

Response farming was developed to connect farmer decision making with meteorological knowledge and climate policies. Science Field Shops were created in Indonesia as a Knowledge Transfer and Communication Technology hub for farmers, scientists and extension to prepare increased climate resilience.

Long Abstract

Farmers in large parts of economically less developed areas are suffering greatly from climate change. For example in the lowland tropics of Indonesia, temperature and rainfall have both become limiting factors of rice yields and in Africa maize has been shown to suffer from increasing temperatures and droughts as well. These effects will worsen with time. More and better climate services for agriculture will therefore have to be developed in places where extension has mostly not been working very well and has also not been updated on the consequences of climate change. In agrometeorology, response farming was developed to connect farmer decision making with meteorological knowledge and climate policies but it did not get widely applied. However, it was suitable as a starting point for the establishment of new Knowledge Transfer and Communication Technologies (KTCTs) seriously connected to extension to prepare decision making policies for increased climate resilience. Combining environmental anthropology with agroclimatology, Science Field Shops (SFSs) , as such a KTCT, were developed as a hub in which, in a period of five years, farmers and farmer facilitators from among them were trained for improved decision making that increased their climate resilience. In addition of dealing with basics of climate change and what could be expected locally from its developments, we used seven climate services that highly improved farmers' understanding of their changing environment and so their decision making. Farmers, as the private sector, and scientists recently convinced local governments and some NGOs to jointly scale up these SFSs.

Weather and market price: how has the watermelon cultivation become gambling in the Russian Far East?

Author: Hyun-Gwi Park (Chung-Ang University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper examines in what context the unpredictability of weather becomes to represent risk and uncertainty and how people respond to insecurity in cultivation deemed to be caused by the weather by taking an ethnographic example from watermelon cultivation in the periphery of Russia.

Long Abstract

Based on long-term ethnographic research among watermelon cultivators in the Russian Far East since the early 2000s, this paper explores how weather has become the central metaphor in describing their economic activities. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the watermelon cultivation was mainly subsistence farming in order to deal with economic turbulence caused by the collapse of the socialist state economy. During this period, the weather was merely one of many factors influencing their harvest. However, from the mid-2000s with accelerated marketization in Russia, the watermelon cultivation became risky business with increased size of cultivation plot. This paper approaches how watermelon cultivators make two correlated uncertainties-weather and market price- in their domestic economy. Facing uncertainty of weather and market price, the cultivators adopt the idiom of gambling to perceive this insecurity. In this worldview, the weather and fluctuation of market prices becomes the basis of the game which creates inter-relatedness among watermelon cultivators across various regions in Russia beyond their village. As Evans-Pritchard argued in the study of Azandes (1976[1937]), what people are most concerned with is understanding and responding to the weather and market price, not scientifically analysing it. I argue that their metaphorical use of gambling for narrating their watermelon cultivation is not only the social interpretation of their work among co-producers of watermelons in the region but also their rhetorical device to reveal the bare bones of neoliberal market economy in contemporary Russia.

Modeling the Impact of Climate Change on Soil Vulnerability to Water Erosion in North of Morocco

Authors: Hamza Briak (FST-Tangier, Morocco / INRA-Rabat, Morocco)  email
Rachid Mrabet (INRA)  email

Short Abstract

The aim of this research is to develop a decision support system that will support to find the stakeholders involved in land degradation and water resources management taking into account the climate change in order to control and limit the most vulnerable areas.

Long Abstract

Recent studies on vulnerability to climate change show a trend towards increased aridity accelerating water erosion which is the primary factor to be considered by decision makers in the environmental field. Furthermore, Water erosion is a complex and widespread phenomenon mainly in semi-arid countries due to the torrential nature of rainfall, their spatial variability and the heterogeneity of soils as well as the adverse impact of human activities. In order to quantify the rate of sediment, and assess the risk of erosion in the the watershed Kalaya located in north of Morocco, the SWAT model (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) have been chosen in this study. This distributed model physically based, developed by Agricultural Research Services of the USDA, is largely used in such a study, because of the reliability of its results. SWAT operates on a continuous daily time step and requires a large spatiotemporal database constitute of the Digital Elevation Model, land use, layers pedological and its characteristics and daily meteorological data. In SWAT, the basin will be discretized into sub-basins, which will be then further subdivided into hydrological response units (HRUs) with homogeneous land use, soil type and slope. The system and the model developed in the catchment will give a clear picture of the spaces where the risk of erosion is most likely in the study area. They will assess the impact of different corrective methods of this risk and they will select the most appropriate practices in each area to solve problems.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.