Spatial variation of crop yield response to climate change in East Africa
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Thornton, P.K.; Jones, P.G.; Alagarswamy, G.; Andresen, J. 2009. Spatial variation of crop yield response to climate change in East Africa. Global Environmental Change. v. 19(1). p. 54-65.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49
There is general consensus that the impacts of climate change on agriculture will add significantly to the development challenges of ensuring food security and reducing poverty, particularly in Africa. While these changes will influence agriculture at a broad scale, regional or country-level assessments can miss critical detail. We use high-resolution methods to generate characteristic daily weather data for a combination of different future emission scenarios and climate models to drive detailed simulation models of the maize and bean crops. For the East African region, there is considerable spatial and temporal variation in this crop response. We evaluate the response of maize and beans to a changing climate, as a prelude to detailed targeting of options that can help smallholder households adapt. The results argue strongly against the idea of large, spatially contiguous development domains for identifying and implementing adaptation options, particularly in regions with large variations in topography and current average temperatures. Rather, they underline the importance of localised, community-based efforts to increase local adaptive capacity, take advantage of changes that may lead to increased crop and livestock productivity where this is possible, and to buffer the situations where increased stresses are likely.
Philip K. Thornton is ILRI author