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Towards a climate change adaptation strategy for coffee communities and ecosystems in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, Mexico

Towards a climate change adaptation strategy for coffee communities and ecosystems in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, Mexico

Schroth, Goetz, Laderach, Peter, Dempewolf, Jan, Philpott, Stacy, Haggar, Jeremy ORCID: 0000-0002-4682-4879, Eakin, Hallie, Castillejos, Teresa, Garcia Moreno, Jaime, Soto Pinto, Lorena, Hernandez, Ricardo, Eitzinger, Anton and Ramirez Villegas, Julian (2009) Towards a climate change adaptation strategy for coffee communities and ecosystems in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, Mexico. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 14 (7). pp. 605-625. ISSN 1381-2386 (Print), 1573-1596 (Online) (doi:

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The Sierra Madre de Chiapas is both a chain of key biodiversity areas and one of the most important coffee production areas of Mexico. Its protected areas, La Sepultura, La Frailescana, El Triunfo, Pico de Loro El Paxtal and Volcán Tacaná provide water for several municipalities and are important tourist attractions. Much of the forest cover outside the core protected areas is in fact coffee grown under traditional forest shade. Unless this (agro)forest cover can be sustained, the biodiversity of the Sierra Madre and the environmental services it provides are at risk. Threats include the increasing population, poverty, the risk of land use change driven by unstable coffee markets, and climate change. We analyzed the threats to livelihoods and environment from climate change through crop suitability modeling based on downscaled climate scenarios for 2050, an expert workshop and literature review. Significant areas of forest and occasionally coffee are destroyed every year by wildfires, and this problem is bound to increase in a hotter and drier future climate. Widespread landslides and inundations, including on coffee farms, have recently been caused by hurricanes whose intensity, by some accounts, is predicted to increase. A hotter climate with more irregular rainfall will be less favorable to the production of quality coffee and lower profitability may compel farmers to abandon shade coffee and expand other land uses of less biodiversity value, probably at the expense of forest. A comprehensive strategy to sustain the biodiversity, ecosystem services and livelihoods of the Sierra Madre in the face of climate change should include the promotion of biodiversity friendly coffee growing and processing practices including complex shade which can offer some hurricane protection and product diversification; payments for forest conservation and restoration from existing government programs complemented by private initiatives; diversification of income sources to mitigate risks associated with unstable environmental conditions and coffee markets; integrated fire management; development of markets that reward sustainable land use practices and forest conservation; crop insurance programs that are accessible to smallholders; and the strengthening of local capacity for adaptive resource management.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: adaptive resource management, Coffea arabica, coffee quality, crop suitability modeling, ecosystem based adaptation, livelihoods diversification, MAXENT, natural disaster
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science
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Last Modified: 23 Apr 2019 10:41

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