Interpretation of Climate Change and Agricultural Adaptations by Local Household Farmers: a Case Study at Bin County, Northeast China

Q. Yu, W. Wu, Z. Liu, P.H. Verburg, T. Xia, P. Yang, Z. Lu, L. You, H. Tang

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    Although climate change impacts and agricultural adaptations have been studied extensively, how smallholder farmers perceive climate change and adapt their agricultural activities is poorly understood. Survey-based data (presents farmers' personal perceptions and adaptations to climate change) associated with external biophysical-socioeconomic data (presents real-world climate change) were used to develop a farmer-centered framework to explore climate change impacts and agricultural adaptations at a local level. A case study at Bin County (1980s-2010s), Northeast China, suggested that increased annual average temperature (0.6°C per decade) and decreased annual precipitation (46 mm per decade, both from meteorological datasets) were correctly perceived by 76 and 66.9%, respectively, of farmers from the survey, and that a longer growing season was confirmed by 70% of them. These reasonably correct perceptions enabled local farmers to make appropriate adaptations to cope with climate change: Longer season alternative varieties were found for maize and rice, which led to a significant yield increase for both crops. The longer season also affected crop choice: More farmers selected maize instead of soybean, as implicated from survey results by a large increase in the maize growing area. Comparing warming-related factors, we found that precipitation and agricultural disasters were the least likely causes for farmers' agricultural decisions. As a result, crop and variety selection, rather than disaster prevention and infrastructure improvement, was the most common ways for farmers to adapt to the notable warming trend in the study region. © 2014 Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1599-1608
    JournalJournal of Integrative Agriculture
    Volume13
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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