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Agroecological Transitions for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation: ATCAM

Grant number: 23/12401-1
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: May 01, 2024 - April 30, 2027
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Geography - Human Geography
Principal Investigator:Bernardo Mançano Fernandes
Grantee:Bernardo Mançano Fernandes
Principal researcher abroad: Archana Raghavan Sathyan
Institution abroad: Kerala Agricultural University, India
Principal researcher abroad: Hannah K Wittman
Institution abroad: University of British Columbia, Vancouver (UBC), Canada
Principal researcher abroad: Verena Seufert
Institution abroad: University of Hohenheim, Germany
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (FCT). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Presidente Prudente. Presidente Prudente , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Davis Gruber Sansolo ; Estevan Leopoldo de Freitas Coca ; João Osvaldo Rodrigues Nunes ; Margarete Cristiane de Costa Trindade Amorim


Globally, agriculture covers almost 40% of the earth's surface and food systems are responsible for one-third of humanity's contribution to global climate change. Yet, smallholder, family, and subsistence farmers are among the most vulnerable to climate change, with extreme weather events and related food price volatility affecting livelihoods, biodiversity, and food security at multiple scales. This project builds on transdisciplinary research on agroecological transitions in vulnerable farming communities in Canada, Germany, India and Brazil. We will examine the influence of agroecological networks (farming organizations, institutional actors, and consumer groups) and agroecological values in promoting the perennialization of agriculture to support climate adaptation (improving resilience in livelihoods and food security) and mitigation (increasing carbon sequestration). Perennialization of agriculture integrates annual and perennial crops and trees into the same farming system. Compared to annual cropping systems which currently dominate global agriculture and markets, perennial crops show promise for climate adaptation and mitigation because of their contributions to carbon sequestration in tree biomass and soil organic carbon, and their buffering effects against soil degradation, drought, and other forms of extreme weather and climate variability. From a social wellbeing perspective, agroforestry and other diversified perennial systems offer opportunities to adapt to climate change and escape poverty traps, including higher and more stable farm incomes, balanced agricultural labour across growing seasons, improved working conditions compared to more input-intensive forms of agriculture and improved nutrition and health. Using a participatory action research approach, this project will use a novel methodology to test the relationships between personal, political, and practical leverage points driving the adoption of agroforestry and other practices supporting agricultural perennialization. We will sample farms and organizations in each case study across a diversification gradient from low-diversity farming systems to perennial and agroforestry-based management systems. We will then use qualitative and quantitative methods to assess climate resilience outcomes and estimate the potential of scaling adoption of perennial and agroforestry practices. A cross-case synthesis will take local institutional, environmental, and relational contexts into account to inform decision-making. (AU)

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