Farmer health and adaptive capacity in the face of climate change and variability. Part 2: Contexts, personal attributes and behaviors

Anthony Hogan, Adam Bode, Helen Berry

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    This study extends the emerging body of research on farmer adaptation to climate change, by segmenting farmers on the basis of specific attributes (health, values, belief about climate change, sense of responsibility for climate change, desire to change, social, human and financial capitals and farmer demographics) and considering such attributes as critical social aspects of the contextualized capacity to adapt. The segmental analysis was based on a nationally representative sample of 3,993 farmers concerned with farmer adaptation of climate risks. The resulting data were subjected to two-step cluster analysis to identify homogenous groups of farmers based on factors related to climate change adaptation. A three-cluster solution was identified wherein farmers were distinguishable on the basis of belief in climate change, desire for financial assistance and advice, social connectedness, information seeking, and adverse farm conditions. The largest group (Cluster 1: 55%) was characterized by farmers who recognized being affected by drought and drying and who were actively engaged in adaptive practices, despite the fact that they had little income and poor farm resources. One third of these farmers reported that their health was a barrier to sustained activity in farming. Cluster 2 (26%) was characterized by farmers not readily affected by drying, who enjoyed good incomes, good health and better farming conditions. They expressed little desire to adapt. The smallest cluster (Cluster 3: 19%) was also characterized by farmers who recognized that they were affected by drying. However, despite a desire to adapt, they had very little means to do so. They reported the poorest natural resources and the poorest health, despite being younger. The findings suggest that it is the intent to adapt, starting from where people are at, which is a more important indicator of the capacity to work towards sustainable practices than assets tests alone. View Full-Text
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4055-4068
    Number of pages14
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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