Social Vulnerability (to Environmental and Climatic Change) Evan Fraser and Andy Dougill, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds Social Vulnerability (to Environmental & Climatic Change) Introductory Lecture (35 minutes) – Climate Change, Food Security & Coping Strategies; - Livelihoods Analysis & Integration with Environmental Research – Case Studies and Research Challenges - Group Exercise (35 minutes) on Drought Impacts on Global Food System - Research Programme Planning Challenge (35 minutes) - Wrap-up (15 minutes) : Challenges for Future Research Programmes & Interdisciplinary Environmental Research Agenda LECTURE • Sustainability Science as academic context • Impact of climate change on food security – Lots of examples historically of climate causing mass problems (Maya, Ethiopia) – Need to predict impact – First generation of simple models • Links to ongoing social science livelihood vulnerability research & reasons for these – Approaches & African Case studies • Global Models of Food Trade and Aid System • Briefing on Group Exercise – Drought in American Grain Belt Sustainability Research Strategies • “Sustainability science differs to a considerable degree in structure, methods and content from science as we know it” (Kates et al., 2001, p.641). It must – Span range of diverse scales (e.g. globalisation & local farming practices) – Account for temporal inertia & urgency of problems – Deal with functional complexities of societal root causes of environmental problems – Recognise the wide range of outlooks on the use of ‘knowledge’ within both science and society • Need to ‘Rethink Science’ What role for Environmentalists? • Have we reached limits of where env science can go? – Public awareness achieved, but actions still needed by all to challenge worrying trends • Environmentalism now driven more by local societies (& need for identities in globalised world) than by science • Needs to be more closely tied to Social Democracy groups to push agenda’s forward towards social & political change • Need to put ‘People, power & politics before conservation and CO2’ Global Hunger Map - FAO 2000 Social / Political Context • MDG 1, Target 2 – “Halve between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger” • In South Asia the challenge is improving the distribution of plentifully available food • In Sub-Saharan Africa the challenge also involves agricultural productivity or better connection to aid / trade Global Trends in Food Production Global Environmental Degradation & Poverty Links • Global & National Degradation Estimates • Degradation - Poverty - Famine links • Added complexity due to climatic change impacts Global Map of Predicted Climate Changes … US Grain yields and IPCC predictions http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/nacc/agriculture/draft-report/chapter3.html Adams, R., Rosenzweig, C., Pearl, R., Ritchie, J., Mccarl, B., Glyer, J., Curry, R., Jones, J., Boote, K. & Allen, L. (1990) Global climate change and U.S. Agriculture. Nature, 345, 219-224. Limitations of Current Modelling Approaches • Assumes logical, immediate behaviour of farmers (e.g. to swap crop type, livestock breed etc.) • No realistic input of local environmental conditions (e.g. field scale soil conditions etc.). • No real evidence of global models providing useful outputs to positively affect farming practices and livelihoods Need for ‘Bottom Up’ Participatory Studies • Examples exist throughout the ‘developing world’ of science-driven ‘transfer of technology’ that have failed to improve food security or poverty problems • Rangelands – Tragedy of Commons removed access to resources for poor & removed traditional management systems • Mixed Farming Zones – Expensive investment in soil and water conservation projects (e.g. terracing, machinery) that have failed due to mis-understanding of local social & envtl context Problems of Past Interventions • All spheres of Overseas Development Assistance experienced problems in effectiveness • “Delusion and disappointment, failures and crimes have been the steady companions of development and they tell a common story: it did not work” – Sachs, 1995; p.1 • “From the early colonial era to the present, attempts have been made to introduce SWC measures in a wide range of settings, yet many have failed.” – Scoones et al., 1996; p.1 • “The last 30 years have seen the unremitting failure of livestock development projects across Africa” – Scoones, 1994; p.3 • For every problem there is a solution that is simple, direct & wrong Conventional approaches to Development Intervention • Standard solutions to standard problems - often focused on mechanical conservation of soil, reducing overgrazing based on ecological indicator species • Often strictly enforced against desires of local people & undermining traditional practices • Lack of local involvement meant poorly maintained after initial expenditure • Experience shows - ‘Aid can Work’ when local learning enabled • How do we learn appropriate aid?? Problems for Soils and Land Degradation Researchers • Requires a completely new way of doing research to match holistic view of farming systems & farmers livelihoods • “Soil science has been brilliantly informed by reductionist physics and chemistry, poorly informed by ecology and geography, & largely uninformed by the social sciences” – Swift (1998) quoted from Scoones et al., 2001 • “Land degradation cannot be judged independently of its spatial, temporal, economic, environmental & cultural context. Evaluations are therefore almost infinitely variable & very dynamic” – Warren, 2002; p.49. • Key aspect is that – Environmental Change Degradation • Global / regional / national estimates contain major uncertainties / oversimplifications Alternative Sustainability Assessments – Sustainable Livelihoods Approach • SL – a way of thinking about objectives, scope and priorities for development, formalised by many development agencies (DFID, UNDP, World Bank etc.) • Formalises need for integrated social, economic, political & environmental basis for research • “A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets (both material and social) and activities required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base” – Chambers and Conway, 1992 • See www.livelihoods.org Sustainable Livelihoods Research Framework (DFID, 1999) Need bits building SLA methods / pentagon ?? Views Through Time • SLA enables a picture of the ‘here and now’ but we also need information through time on how people & institutions react (cope or adapt) to environmental changes • Oral histories (or ‘appreciative enquiry’) techniques can be used to gain information on peoples ability to adapt (social resilience?) to specific events / shocks (e.g. drought / flood) • More difficult to discuss more gradual changes / trends (e.g. ecological change, nutrient depletion or climatic desiccation) Soils & SL Research in Practice – Case Study 1 Niger • See Sahelian Soils debates of Warren et al., 2001 – The Geographical Journal, 167(4), 324-341. • Examines whether ‘capitals’ framework helps assessments of sustainability ‘strength’ – “Strong sustainability” - no loss of natural capital (e.g. soil) – “Sensible sustainability” - conversion of some natural into other forms of capital, increase total capital base over time 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 – “Weak sustainability” - just increase total capital Sahelian Soil Erosion - E. Niger • “Despite high rates of erosion, we find it difficult to decide whether the system is sustainable (using the capitals or any other framework). It is even dubious whether sustainability is an urgent concern” – Warren et al., 2001; p.324 • Other (more important?) concerns – – – – Rainfall (climate change) pests lack of labour / illness prices • Livestock / urbanisation futures => why conserve soils ?? Problems of Environmental Sustainability • Drive for soil conservation from agronomists & soil scientists, rather than from local communities • Sustainability of natural capital conflicts with the sustainability of livelihoods (social sustainability) – “to be ‘socially sustainable’, some farmers must engage in practices that lead to erosion” (Warren et al., 2001; p.333) • How can you monitor / assess the ‘critical natural capacity’ needed for ‘sensible sustainability’ ? – Often relates to maintaining environmental diversity that enables risk management by societies – Often less visible environmental changes (nutrient depletion) more important than visible soil erosion – Concept has serious methodological difficulties Sustainability Science & New Methods of Soil Degradation Assessment • Must involve farmers in assessment process to focus on issues of real concern that impact on yields • Usually involves simple, reliable ‘degradation indicators’ that are well known to farmers – e.g. – yellow leaves for N deficiency; – stunted patchy crop growth – general nutrient deficiency; – scorching of leaf margins, restricted root growth and plant death – low pH leading to metal toxicity • See Stocking and Murnaghan (2001) for excellent review Soils & SL Research in Practice – Case Study 2 South Africa / Botswana • See Dougill et al. (2002) and Twyman et al. (2004) Aim - combine different information sources for simple and applicable land degradation assessment and subsequent agricultural extension advice 1. Inventory of conventional environmental indicators of soil degradation & livelihoods survey identifying farmers concerns 2. Participatory nutrient budget studies - farmer interviews aimed at quantifying nutrient fluxes 3. Soil chemical analysis (N, P, K, pH & OM) from fields chosen by farmer 4. Soil degradation discussions - two-way discussion of soil degradation constraints on farming practices and crop yields 5. Local and national workshops Research Results - Key Findings • Field-scale nutrient budget analysis highlight that in drought year nutrient inputs > outputs when farmers add fertilisers excess nutrients will increase risk of soil acidification • Manure inputs alone lead to soil nutrient depletion (even for low rainfall study year) • Perception of need for no fertiliser addition to groundnuts leading to soil nutrient depletion • Integrated nutrient management as used by 2 of 15 study farmers capable of avoiding most soil degradation processes Opportunities Provided by Integrating Information • Simultaneous collection of several indicators of land degradation (& processes causing it) leads to more applicable assessment of land degradation and relevance to land users - better assessment • Shared understanding of land degradation pressures provides the basis for Learning and Action - better management • Improved extension advice can involve some farmers in experimentation, monitoring and evaluation of adaptations • Lack of farmer interest in integrated nutrient management decisions (due to non-farming livelihood options, or due to lack of manure caused by decline in herd size) will lead to difficulties in ensuring long-term environmental sustainability - i.e. social not an environmental problem? Community-Based Natural Resource Management Challenges • UN FAO now formalising farmer-led assessment approaches to attempt more applicable degradation assessments • Starts from Livelihoods analysis of farmers concerns (threats) & opportunities (strengths) with eventual aim to provide improved development support • Vulnerability / resilience assessment needs analysis through time in range of interconnected systems (environmental, socio-economic & political) Problems with Existing Approaches • Timescales – long v. short-term (shocks or trends require different responses) • System memory / inertia – reflective approaches need to be tested to assess their reliability and current value • Prediction / anticipatory problems on what farmers will actually do in different situations • Links between scales – scaling from the local to the national and global A further link slide ?? THE TASK: background • A gov’t funding agency is concerned with the possibility of a drought in the US. • This is a key regions for three reasons: – 1. historically droughts have hit this area. – 2. this area provides food for all sorts of uses and all around the world – 3. this areas is using up its ground water US Drought in the 1950s This map was taken from the NY Times online resource on the Ogallala Aquifer World Grain Flows Source: Figure 24: CIA, 1999. Handbook of International Economic Statistics. Available on line: http://www.cia.gov/cia/di/products/hies/ What the food produced in the US is used for… Taken From Heller, M. and Keoleian, G. (2000), Life Cycle-Based Sustainability Indicators for Assessment of the U.S. Food System. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Sustainable Systems, School of Natural Resources and Environment University of Michigan. The tasks: specifics The agency would like you to develop an interdisciplinary set of linked research projects to identify and predict the global effects of drought in this region. • List the key factors that determine food production and distribution from this critical region. • Use a flow chart to begin sketching out the ways these interact. • Use flow chart to identify: – 1. research projects – 2. data requirements – 3. disciplinary perspectives required to evaluate. Temperature Ground water Rainfall Land availability Legend Crop choice Food flows Environmental science Food production (yield) Livelihoods and economics Policy and market incentives Distribution of food Temperature Domestic consumption Feed for livestock Policies and institutions Ground water Food aid Export Food production (yield) Attracts political attention Works for wage Subsistence agriculture Works for wage Wealthy international consumer Poor international consumer Enough food? Not enough food? Rainfall Wrap up… • Seem ambitious ???? – The research councils are demanding this – Key quotes from RC brochures… – RELU and QUEST as key examples of this sort of project in action. Why this matters to you - Future Environmental Science Agenda’s • Strong Government / NERC support – “Some of the most interesting scientific advances occur at the intersection of disciplines” Chancellor’s Budget Statement March 2006 – “Interdisciplinary science is core business for NERC … the social, political and economic sciences and engineering are becoming increasingly involved” Alan Thorpe, NERC Chief Executive, Planet Earth, Summer 2006 • Many Interdisciplinary Initiatives – Leeds – Strategic Investment in Climate & Environmental Change – Reading – Walker Institute soon to be launched – UEA – CSERGE, Tyndall etc. Examples of Interdisciplinary Programmes In Action • UK scale programmes are being supported – e.g. ESRC/NERC/BBSRC Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme - http://www.relu.ac.uk/ (£24 million from 2004 – 09), but no Climate Change related research funded! • Challenge remains for current & future programmes (e.g. QUEST !) as to how to facilitate interdisciplinary research that addresses long-term climatic & environmental changes in a people & policy-relevant manner QUEST 3 – (Hopefully) The Next Step Towards Being Joined-Up Some sort of wrap up “it aint easy but is needed” type quote!? Thank You ! • Questions / Reflections Welcome Throughout Rest of the Day !!