​The CASCADE Project

Ecosystem-based Adaptation for Smallholder Subsistence and Coffee Farming Communities in Central America

In Central America, smallholder farmers are at the heart of the agricultural sector, and many of them depend directly on natural ecosystems for the provision of water, soil conservation, pest control and other services.

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EditBox Heading:2015 Science Summit
EditText Paragraph 1:Ecosystems, Climate Change and Smallholder Farmers in Central America
May 12th -14th 2015
Punta Leona, Costa Rica
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    EditImage Alt Text:Picking coffee berries. © Ingmar Zahorsky
    EditCaption Title:Workpackage 1: Research on climate change impacts.
    EditCaption Description:Goal: to understand the vulnerability of Central American ecosystems and smallholder farmers (both subsistence and coffee) to climate change.
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    EditImage Alt Text:People working in a tree nursery in the Alto Mayo Protected Forest. © Thomas Muller
    EditCaption Title:Workpackage 2: Vulnerability assessment.
    EditCaption Description:Goal: to identify which smallholder (both subsistence and coffee) farming communities, ecosystems and ecosystem services in the target countries are most vulnerable to climate change.
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    EditImage Alt Text:Farmer applying pruning techniques learned as part of the benefits of conservation agreements in the Alto Mayo Protected Forest. © Thomas Muller
    EditCaption Title:Workpackage 3: Ecosystem-based adaptation identification.
    EditCaption Description:Goal: to document household livelihood strategies used to cope with past climatic variability and local knowledge about expected impacts of climate change across a range of different smallholder communities.
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    EditImage Alt Text:Farmer in Chiapas. © Jessica Scranton
    EditCaption Title:Workpackage 4: Ecosystem based adaptation evaluation.
    EditCaption Description:Goal: to test the effectiveness of existing on-farm activities that are relevant for EbA in a subset of communities by collecting detailed information on the characteristics, management, and implementation of those activities, and their performance in the face of climate change.
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    EditImage Alt Text:Chiapas landscape. © Cristina Mittermeier
    EditCaption Title:Workpackage 5: Institutional Analysis.
    EditCaption Description:Goal: to identify the local and national institutions (both formal and informal) that could promote EbA approaches among vulnerable smallholder farming communities and define strategies for strengthening their role in promoting EbA and smallholder resilience to climate change.
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    EditImage Alt Text:Farm in San MartIn, Peru. © Conservation International/photo by Colin Foster
    EditCaption Title:Workpackage 6: Capacity Building for Ecosystem based adaptation extension.
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    EditImage Alt Text:Man holds coffee beans in Chiapas, Mexico. © Cristina Mittermeier
    EditCaption Title:Workpackage 7: Multiplication and amplification.
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    Climate models indicate that Central America will likely experience warmer and drier seasons and increases in the frequency of extreme weather events as a result of climate change. Smallholder farmers are likely to be particularly vulnerable to these expected changes due to their high dependence on agriculture for their livelihoods and their limited resources and capacity to cope with shocks. There is therefore an urgent need to identify strategies that help smallholder farmers adapt to climate change. Improving the productivity and resiliency of smallholder farming systems is also critical for alleviating poverty and achieving food security.

    Conservation International (CI) and the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) are working together to identify and test Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) strategies that can help smallholder farming communities adapt to these climate changes. The joint research project, CASCADE (Central American Subsistence and Coffee farmer ADaptation based on Ecosystems), aims to build local capacity to support the implementation of EbA strategies in three countries: Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala.

    The project will directly benefit smallholder coffee and subsistence farmers across Central America by providing them with EbA options that can reduce their vulnerability to climate change. The project will also provide valuable support and information to agricultural organizations, coffee institutes, NGOs and other groups working with smallholder farmers on climate change adaptation and food security. Other beneficiaries include policy makers, government institutions, civil society groups, and the donor community working to promote adaptation among smallholder farmers who will have access to detailed information on farmer adaptation needs and appropriate adaptation options.

    CASCADE is generously funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) under the framework of the International Climate Initiative (ICI) and will run until 2017. In addition to CI and CATIE, another key partner in the project is CIRAD.

    Sobre CASCADA: Ver esta página en español »


    Activities

    A combination of research, implementation and outreach activities in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras are being developed as part of the CASCADE project. Those activities will help us achieve the following outputs:

    • Better understanding of the climate change impacts and the vulnerability of ecosystem services, agricultural production and livelihoods
    • Identification of strategies used by smallholder farmers to adapt to climate variability
    • Better understanding of the effectiveness of EbA strategies
    • Development of training materials on EbA approaches and on its application to smallholder farming communities
    • Improvement in the capacity of relevant institutions to promote EbA strategies
    • Political and economic analysis to help promote EbA strategies
    • Dissemination of project results to a wide set of stakeholders and decision-makers at various levels

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          Project Director for CI
          charvey@conservation.org
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          This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (ICI). German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.

           

           

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