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Evaluating synergies and trade-offs between climate change adaptation and mitigation in forestry and agriculture in Belize

Kongsager R., Locatelli B., Corbera E., Wollenberg E.. 2014. In : Resilience and development: mobilising for transformation. Villeurbanne : Centre pour la Communication Scientifique Directe, p. 541-541. Resilience Alliance 2014, 2014-05-04/2014-05-08, Montpellier (France).

Dealing with climate change requires both mitigation (for reducing greenhouse emissions or enhancing carbon sequestration) and adaptation (for making societies more resilient to climatic variations in a context of other non climatic changes). Despite the many opportunities for linking adaptation and mitigation in forestry and agriculture, few land use projects globally have jointly handled the two goals of adaptation and mitigation. We conducted studies in Belize to assess the synergies and trade-offs between the two goals, first in three forestry projects and second in the future development of the agricultural sectors. In the first assessment, we reviewed project documents, conducted interviews of key informants at local and national level and visited project sites, to explore how, where and when it is relevant to link adaptation and mitigation. With an analysis of the main project activities and the barriers and opportunities of other activities, it was possible to identify additional activities and adjustments that link adaptation and mitigation, optimize synergies, and minimize trade-offs. Additionally, we explored the motivations for integrating adaptation in these mitigation projects, such as improved local legitimacy, long term sustainability, additional funding, or external requirements from financing mechanisms. We investigated the perceptions of project developers about this integration, the knowledge and information they needed and had access to. In the second assessment, we applied Participatory Scenario Planning in three different farming systems in Northern Belize (mainly sugarcane), Central Belize (mainly cattle-ranching) and Southern Belize (mainly smallholder agroforestry). We assessed adaptation needs through a vulnerability assessment of farming systems, and we evaluated the mitigation opportunities, through carbon quantification. Stakeholders and informants from various institutions contributed to developing four plausible scenarios and storylines for the agricultural sector, including factors related to climate, market, local governance, lifestyle, demography, migration, non-farm opportunities (trade, labor, education), and agricultural development. The analysis identified the key factors for scenario development, i.e. those expected to be the most influential or uncertain. Scenarios were discussed during local workshops with farming households and ranked by the participants according to their plausibility and desirability. The workshops contributed to better understand decision-making at household and village levels, and trade-offs between the winners/losers and the outcomes of the different scenarios. A backcasting approach was used to design actions to reach desirable scenarios or avoid undesirable ones. The two assessments showed that it is possible to achieve adaptation and mitigation goals and minimize trade-offs between these goals and among stakeholders at different levels. (Texte integral)

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