National Socio-environmental synthesis center (university of maryland)

Modelling Adaptation and Vulnerability to Climate Risks from the “Ground-Up”: A Case of Smallholder Agriculturalists across North India.

Team: Udita Sanga (Co-Principal Investigator, Michigan State University), Hogeun Park (Michigan State University), Courtney Hammond Wagner (University of Vermont), Lia Helena Monteiro de Lima Demange (University of São Paulo), & Caroline Gueiros (Oxford University)

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There is an urgent need for policy-makers to design comprehensive and robust adaptation policies for agricultural households in the Global South facing climate risks, including changes in temperature and precipitation, droughts and floods. Today, many promoted policies implement standardized adaptation programs, which cater to certain farmers but also neglect others who might not be able or willing to partake in proposed strategies. These programs are therefore incomplete and do not attend to the broader set of vulnerabilities faced by diverse households. Our project asks: How can policy-makers develop comprehensive adaptation policies across regional socio-environmental systems using information on the processes of adoption of potential adaptation strategies for individual farmers? Using baseline farmer surveys collected by the CGIAR program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) project in the North Indian region, we are developing structural equation models and social modelling tools (namely Agent Based Models) to map the emergent adaptation behaviour of 1,400 farmers in response to hydro-meteorological and climatic risks using indicators such as their risk perceptions, livelihoods, access to resources, socioeconomic status, and other social variables (religion, culture, education etc.). Our work addresses a significant methodological challenge of understanding system-wide and dynamic regional adaptation behaviour among individual farm households. This will provide policymakers with information on key cross-scale dynamics to better develop specific and tailored adaptation programs that reflect the reality of household decision-making contexts and support diverse and differentiated farmer adaptation decisions.