Multiple non-climatic drivers of food insecurity reinforce climate change maladaptation trajectories among Peruvian Indigenous Shawi in the Amazon

2018 October 17

Zavaleta, C., Berrang-Ford, L., Ford, J.D., Llanos-Cuentas, A., Cárcamo, C., Ross, N.A., Lancha, G., Sherman, M., Harper, S.L. and the IHACC Research Group (2018).  Multiple non-climatic drivers of food insecurity reinforce climate change maladaptation trajectories among Peruvian Indigenous Shawi in the Amazon. PLOS One30(10), e0205714.



Climate change is affecting food systems globally, with implications for food security, nutrition, and the health of human populations. There are limited data characterizing the current and future consequences of climate change on local food security for populations already experiencing poor nutritional indicators. Indigenous Amazonian populations have a high reported prevalence of nutritional deficiencies. This paper characterizes the food system of the Shawi of the Peruvian Amazon, climatic and non-climatic drivers of their food security vulnerability to climate change, and identifies potential maladaptation trajectories.

Methods and findings

Semi-structured interviews with key informants (n = 24), three photovoice workshops (n = 17 individuals), transect walks (n = 2), a food calendar exercise, and two community dissemination meetings (n = 30 individuals), were conducted within two Shawi communities in Balsapuerto District in the Peruvian Loreto region between June and September of 2014. The Shawi food system was based on three main food sub-systems (forest, farming and externally-sourced). Shawi reported collective, gendered, and emotional notions related to their food system activities. Climatic and non-climatic drivers of food security vulnerability among Shawi participants acted at proximal and distal levels, and mutually reinforced key maladaptation trajectories, including: 1) a growing population and natural resource degradation coupled with limited opportunities to increase incomes, and 2) a desire for education and deforestation reinforced by governmental social and food interventions.


A series of maladaptive trajectories have the potential to increase social and nutritional inequities for the Shawi. Transformational food security adaptation should include consideration of Indigenous perceptions and priorities, and should be part of Peruvian food and socioeconomic development policies.

@ccadapt team and the IPCC 1.5C special report

2018 October 8

Today saw the release of the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) of the IPCC special report on the impacts of 1.5C global warming. The report was the culmination of 2 years of work and has been making the news headlines globally. The @ccadapt team has played a key role in this report: James was a lead author on chapter 4 and the SPM, and was in S. Korea all last week at the approval session; and former @ccadapt researchers Ella Belfer and Malcolm Araos were contributing authors to chapter 4. The Priestley Centre is also well represented in the assessment, with Piers Forster also a lead author and key member of the SPM author team. For more information, visit either the Priestley International Centre for Climate or IPCC pages profiling the session.

James at IPCC1.5C approval session in South Korea

2018 October 1

From October 1st-5th, the IPCC will convene its 48th session in Incheon, S. Korea. The main focus will be approval of the special report on the impacts of 1.5C of global warming. @ccdapt lead, Prof James Ford, will be at the meeting representing chapter 4 of the special report on the policy response to 1.5C.

A systems network approach for climate change vulnerability assessment

2018 September 19

Debortoli, N.S., Sayles, J.S., Clark, D.G., Ford, J.D. (2018). A systems network approach for climate change vulnerability assessment. Environmental Research Letterspublished online.

Vulnerability to climate change is a product of biophysical and social dynamics. Assessments of community or regional vulnerability, however, often focus on quantitative infrastructure and environmental assessments, or qualitative assessments of a community’s social dynamics and livelihood activities. A dearth of integrated quantitative assessments is a major barrier for decision-makers who require quantitative outputs and indicators, which can measure where vulnerability is most severe and can be linked to climate projections. Our framework and analysis helps address such gaps by identifying variables to build climate change vulnerability indices, which we pilot here focusing on Inuit communities in the Canadian Arctic. We start with a systematic literature review of community-based vulnerability studies and assess relationships among 58 social and biophysical variables. We then use multiplex network analysis to determine how social and environmental variables interact among and within the key component of vulnerability: exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. We identify several structurally important variables that interact within and across the three dimensions of vulnerability. This method is transferable as an integrative means of understanding not only the direct causes of vulnerability but also relations that are less tangible. The approach of multiplex network analysis can be a building block to ongoing development of vulnerability indices within the human dimensions of climate change field.

New Arctic-focused PhD opening @ccadapt

2018 September 5

Want to join the @ccadapt team? Interested in working on an interdisciplinary climate change project in the Arctic. I have a fully funded PhD project for 2019 start date on ‘Participatory climate modeling, ethnoclimatology, and human health in the Arctic.’

For more information, go to: