Abstract

Improving the adaptive capacity of small-scale irrigation systems to the impacts of climate change is crucial for food security in Asia. This study analyzes the capacity of small-scale irrigation systems dependent on the Asian monsoon to adapt to variability in river discharge caused by climate change. Our study is motivated by the Pumpa irrigation system, a small-scale irrigation system located in Nepal that is a model for this type of system. We developed an agent-based model in which we simulated the decisions farmers make about the irrigation strategy to use according to available water flow. Given the uncertainty associated with how climate change may affect the Asian monsoon, we simulated the performance of the system under different projections of climate change in the region (increase and decrease in rainfall, reduction and expansion of the monsoon season, and changes in the timing of the onset of the monsoon). Accordingly to our simulations, farmers might need to adapt to rainfall intensification and a late onset in the monsoon season. The demands for collective action among farmers (e.g. infrastructure repair, meetings, decisions, etc.) might increase considerably due to climate change. Although our model suggests that investment in new infrastructure might increase the performance of the system under some climate change scenarios, the high inequality among farmers when water availability is reduced might hinder the efficiency of these measures due to a reduction of farmers’ willingness to cooperate. Our modeling exercise helps to hypothesize about the most sensitive climate change scenarios for smallscale irrigation farming in Nepal and helps to frame a discussion of some possible solutions and fundamental trade-offs in the process of adaptation to improve for food and water security under climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-91
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Volume40
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Fingerprint

ecological system
food security
social system
climate change
irrigation
food
irrigation system
monsoon
farmer
Nepal
water
willingness to cooperate
infrastructure
scenario
rainfall
collective action
river discharge
collective behavior
water availability
repair

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Agent-based model
  • Climate change
  • Common-pool resources
  • Irrigation systems
  • Resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Global and Planetary Change

Cite this

@article{e791ee8b24874ca1873ce3758b27e604,
title = "Food security in the face of climate change: Adaptive capacity of small-scale social-ecological systems to environmental variability",
abstract = "Improving the adaptive capacity of small-scale irrigation systems to the impacts of climate change is crucial for food security in Asia. This study analyzes the capacity of small-scale irrigation systems dependent on the Asian monsoon to adapt to variability in river discharge caused by climate change. Our study is motivated by the Pumpa irrigation system, a small-scale irrigation system located in Nepal that is a model for this type of system. We developed an agent-based model in which we simulated the decisions farmers make about the irrigation strategy to use according to available water flow. Given the uncertainty associated with how climate change may affect the Asian monsoon, we simulated the performance of the system under different projections of climate change in the region (increase and decrease in rainfall, reduction and expansion of the monsoon season, and changes in the timing of the onset of the monsoon). Accordingly to our simulations, farmers might need to adapt to rainfall intensification and a late onset in the monsoon season. The demands for collective action among farmers (e.g. infrastructure repair, meetings, decisions, etc.) might increase considerably due to climate change. Although our model suggests that investment in new infrastructure might increase the performance of the system under some climate change scenarios, the high inequality among farmers when water availability is reduced might hinder the efficiency of these measures due to a reduction of farmers’ willingness to cooperate. Our modeling exercise helps to hypothesize about the most sensitive climate change scenarios for smallscale irrigation farming in Nepal and helps to frame a discussion of some possible solutions and fundamental trade-offs in the process of adaptation to improve for food and water security under climate change.",
keywords = "Adaptation, Agent-based model, Climate change, Common-pool resources, Irrigation systems, Resilience",
author = "Irene P{\'e}rez and Marcus Janssen and John Anderies",
year = "2016",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.07.005",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "40",
pages = "82--91",
journal = "Global Environmental Change",
issn = "0959-3780",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Food security in the face of climate change

T2 - Adaptive capacity of small-scale social-ecological systems to environmental variability

AU - Pérez, Irene

AU - Janssen, Marcus

AU - Anderies, John

PY - 2016/9/1

Y1 - 2016/9/1

N2 - Improving the adaptive capacity of small-scale irrigation systems to the impacts of climate change is crucial for food security in Asia. This study analyzes the capacity of small-scale irrigation systems dependent on the Asian monsoon to adapt to variability in river discharge caused by climate change. Our study is motivated by the Pumpa irrigation system, a small-scale irrigation system located in Nepal that is a model for this type of system. We developed an agent-based model in which we simulated the decisions farmers make about the irrigation strategy to use according to available water flow. Given the uncertainty associated with how climate change may affect the Asian monsoon, we simulated the performance of the system under different projections of climate change in the region (increase and decrease in rainfall, reduction and expansion of the monsoon season, and changes in the timing of the onset of the monsoon). Accordingly to our simulations, farmers might need to adapt to rainfall intensification and a late onset in the monsoon season. The demands for collective action among farmers (e.g. infrastructure repair, meetings, decisions, etc.) might increase considerably due to climate change. Although our model suggests that investment in new infrastructure might increase the performance of the system under some climate change scenarios, the high inequality among farmers when water availability is reduced might hinder the efficiency of these measures due to a reduction of farmers’ willingness to cooperate. Our modeling exercise helps to hypothesize about the most sensitive climate change scenarios for smallscale irrigation farming in Nepal and helps to frame a discussion of some possible solutions and fundamental trade-offs in the process of adaptation to improve for food and water security under climate change.

AB - Improving the adaptive capacity of small-scale irrigation systems to the impacts of climate change is crucial for food security in Asia. This study analyzes the capacity of small-scale irrigation systems dependent on the Asian monsoon to adapt to variability in river discharge caused by climate change. Our study is motivated by the Pumpa irrigation system, a small-scale irrigation system located in Nepal that is a model for this type of system. We developed an agent-based model in which we simulated the decisions farmers make about the irrigation strategy to use according to available water flow. Given the uncertainty associated with how climate change may affect the Asian monsoon, we simulated the performance of the system under different projections of climate change in the region (increase and decrease in rainfall, reduction and expansion of the monsoon season, and changes in the timing of the onset of the monsoon). Accordingly to our simulations, farmers might need to adapt to rainfall intensification and a late onset in the monsoon season. The demands for collective action among farmers (e.g. infrastructure repair, meetings, decisions, etc.) might increase considerably due to climate change. Although our model suggests that investment in new infrastructure might increase the performance of the system under some climate change scenarios, the high inequality among farmers when water availability is reduced might hinder the efficiency of these measures due to a reduction of farmers’ willingness to cooperate. Our modeling exercise helps to hypothesize about the most sensitive climate change scenarios for smallscale irrigation farming in Nepal and helps to frame a discussion of some possible solutions and fundamental trade-offs in the process of adaptation to improve for food and water security under climate change.

KW - Adaptation

KW - Agent-based model

KW - Climate change

KW - Common-pool resources

KW - Irrigation systems

KW - Resilience

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84979231232&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84979231232&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.07.005

DO - 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.07.005

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84979231232

VL - 40

SP - 82

EP - 91

JO - Global Environmental Change

JF - Global Environmental Change

SN - 0959-3780

ER -