How Do Capital Asset Interactions Affect Livelihood Sensitivity to Climatic Stresses? Insights From the Northeastern Floodplains of Bangladesh

2018 April 25

Tuihedur Rahman, H.M, Robinson, B., Ford, J., Hickey, G. (2018) How Do Capital Asset Interactions Affect Livelihood Sensitivity to Climatic Stresses? Insights From the Northeastern Floodplains of Bangladesh. Ecological Economics, 150, 165 – 176.


This paper offers a novel methodological approach for better understanding how different capital assets can be organized, transformed, and used in different combinations to reduce livelihood sensitivity to climatic stresses – an area that requires greater research attention in the context of adaptation policy. Research was conducted in the northeastern floodplain communities of Bangladesh, regarded as one of the most climate sensitive, resource poor, and highly understudied areas of the country. This wetland-dominated ecosystem is home to diverse resources user groups (e.g., farmer and fisher) who are subjected to regular seasonal flooding, excessive rainfall, drought, and flash floods. Working in 12 adjacent villages of two significant wetlands (Hakaluki haor and Tanguar haor), qualitative and quantitative data were collected through 15 focus groups (n = 15), 35 key informant interviews, and 356 household surveys to better understand how community members adapt in response to their livelihood sensitivity to the climatic stresses. Results indicate that community members organize and transform capital assets in diverse ways to escape climate-induced “poverty traps”. Findings also reveal that interventions from external agencies (e.g., government, non-governmental organizations and market institutions) are an important key to livelihood sustainability for many households.

Assessing stakeholder needs for adaptation tracking

2018 March 20

Wang, F., Ford, J., Lesnikowski, A., Chen, C., Berrang-Ford, L., Biesbroek, R., Heymann, J., Grecequet, M., Huq, S. (2018) Assessing stakeholder needs for adaptation tracking. UNEP DTU Partnership, Perspectives Series, 1. 

Faced with the increasing and irreversible impacts of climate change, a growing number of public and private stakeholders across vulnerable sectors are engaging in adaptation efforts. However, our knowledge is limited regarding the types of information being demanded in order to track adaptation progress nationally. To address this gap, we conducted a needs assessment of 191 public and private stakeholder organizations. Stakeholder needs are classified into fourteen themes, encompassing measurements in implementation, outcome and learning, data availability and methods, and crosscutting aspects. With approximately half of organizations surveyed expressing a need for adaptation tracking, we conclude that there is significant demand for: 1) translating climate risk data into impacts and damage costs; 2) monitoring institutional and policy coordination and coherence; and 3) evaluating adaptation outputs and outcomes to inform decision-making.

Preparing for the health impacts of climate change in Indigenous communities: The role of community-based adaptation

2018 March 10

Ford, J., Sherman, M., Berrang-Ford, L., Llanos, A., Carcamo, C., Harper, S., Lwasa, S., Namanya, D., Marcello, T., Maillet, M., Edge, V. (2018). Preparing for the health impacts of climate change in Indigenous communities: The role of community-based adaptation. Global Environmental Change, 49, 129-139.

Climate change presents substantial risks to the health of Indigenous peoples. Research is needed to inform health policy and practice for managing risks, with community based adaptation (CBA) emerging as one approach to conducting research to support such efforts. Few, if any, studies however, have critically examined the application of CBA in a health or Indigenous peoples context. We examine the strengths, challenges, and opportunities of health-related CBA research in Indigenous community settings, drawing on the experiences of the multi-nation interdisciplinary Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate Change (IHACC) project. Data collection was guided by a framework developed to evaluate CBA projects. Semi-structured interviews (n = 114) and focus groups (n = 23, 177 participants) were conducted with faculty-based researchers, institutional partners, community members, students, and trainees involved in the IHACC project in Canada, Uganda, and Peru. Results illustrate the importance of CBA in co-generating knowledge on climate-health vulnerability and adaptation options, capacity building, and informing decision choices. There are also significant challenges of conducting CBA which can have unintended negative consequences, with results emphasizing the importance of managing the tension between health research and tangible and immediate benefits; developing a working architecture for collective impact, including team building, identification of common goals, and meaningful engagement of knowledge users; and the need to continuously monitor and evaluate progress. CBA holds significant promise in a health adaptation context, but only in the ‘right’ circumstances, where considerable time is spent developing the work with partners.

James gives keynote at UK-Russia Arctic workshop

2018 March 9

James was in Arkhangelsk, Russia, from 28th Feb – 3rd March participating in the UK-Russia Research and collaboration network conference. He chaired the first session of the conference focusing on climate change, and gave a keynote presentation assessing 20 years of progress in Arctic climate change research. While @ccadapt research has mostly focused on Arctic Canada and Greenland to date, the goal is develop some new projects in Russia in the future.

The determinants of crop yields in Uganda: what is the role of climatic and non-climatic factors?

2018 February 21

Epule, T., Ford, J., Lwasa, S., Nabaasa, B., Buyinza, A. (2018). The determinants of crop yields in Uganda: what is the role of climatic and non-climatic factors? Agriculture & Food Security. 7:10.

Background: It is widely accepted that crop yields will be affected by climate change. However, the role played by climate in affecting crop yields vis-a-vis non-climatic stresses, is often unclear, limiting decision choices around efforts to promote increased production in light of multiple stresses.

Results: This study quantifies the role of climatic and non-climatic factors affecting multiple crop yields in Uganda, utilizing a systematic approach which involves the use of a two-stage multiple linear regression to identify and char-acterize the most important drivers of crop yield, examine the location of the key drivers, identify the socio-economic implications of the drivers and identify policy options to enhance agricultural production. We find that non-climatic drivers of crop yields such as forest area dynamics (p= 0.012), wood fuel (p= 0.032) and usage of tractors (0.041) are more important determinants of crop yields than climatic drivers such as precipitation, temperature and CO2 emis-sions from forest clearance. Climatic drivers are found to multiply existing risks facing production, the significance of which is determined by variability and inadequate distribution of precipitation over the crop growing seasons.

Conclusion: The significance and validity of these results is observed in an f-statistic of 50 for the final optimized model when compared to the initial model with an f-statistic of 19.3. Research and agricultural policies have to be streamlined to include not only the climatic elements but also the non-climatic drivers of global, regional and national agricultural systems.