Agroecosystem Analysis of the Choke Mountain Watersheds, Ethiopia
Tropical highland regions are experiencing rapid climate change. In these regions the adaptation challenge is complicated by the fact that elevation contrasts and dissected topography produce diverse climatic conditions that are often accompanied by significant ecological and agricultural diversity within a relatively small region. Such is the case for the Choke Mountain watersheds, in the Blue Nile Highlands of Ethiopia. These watersheds extend from tropical alpine environments at over 4000 m elevation to the hot and dry Blue Nile gorge that includes areas below 1000 m elevation, and contain a diversity of slope forms and soil types. This physical diversity and accompanying socio-economic contrasts demand diverse strategies for enhanced climate resilience and adaptation to climate change. To support development of locally appropriate climate resilience strategies across the Blue Nile Highlands, we present here an agroecosystem analysis of Choke Mountain, under the premise that the agroecosystem—the intersection of climatic and physiographic conditions with agricultural practices—is the most appropriate unit for defining adaptation strategies in these primarily subsistence agriculture communities. To this end, we present two approaches to agroecosystem analysis that can be applied to climate resilience studies in the Choke Mountain watersheds and, as appropriate, to other agroecologically diverse regions attempting to design climate adaptation strategies. First, a full agroecoystem analysis was implemented in collaboration with local communities. It identified six distinct agroecosystems that differ systematically in constraints and adaptation potential. This analysis was then paired with an objective landscape classification trained to identify agroecosystems based on climate and physiographic setting alone. It was found that the distribution of Choke Mountain watershed agroecosystems can, to first order, be explained as a function of prevailing climate. This suggests that the conditions that define current agroecosystems are likely to migrate under a changing climate, requiring adaptive management strategies. These agroecosystems show a remarkable degree of differentiation in terms of production orientation and socio-economic characteristics of the farming communities suggesting different options and interventions towards building resilience to climate change.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Getahun, Amare, 1980. "Agro-climates and agricultural systems in Ethiopia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 39-50.
- Byerlee, Derek & Spielman, David J. & Alemu, Dawit & Gautam, Madhur, 2007. "Policies to promote cereal intensification in Ethiopia: A review of evidence and experience," IFPRI discussion papers 707, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:592-616:d:23391. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.