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The risk of second-best adaptive measures: Farmers facing drought in Thailand

Pak-Uthai S., Faysse N.. 2018. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 28 : p. 711-719.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2018.01.032

The measures taken by farmers to adapt to climate events are generally characterized in terms of the required resources and their effects, and based on these effects, measures are typified as leading to short-term or long-term adaptation, or to maladaptation. This paper examines the short-term effects of adaptive measures taken by farmers in Suphanburi Province, Thailand, to deal with the major hydrological drought in 2015 and 2016. The farmers implemented diverse measures aimed at increasing access to water, reducing their need for irrigation water or obtaining a non-agricultural income. Less than one third of interviewed farmers were able to implement first-best adaptive measures, which involved little risk as farmers had secure access to alternative sources of water and to markets. The other farmers were unable to implement these measures. Half of the farmers opted for second-best measures, which involved risky attempts to increase access to water or to shift to other productions. Farmers also took other second-best adaptive measures that involved much less risk, such as non-agricultural activities, but that only provided a limited income. Therefore, based on their short-term effects, most adaptive actions could not be typified in terms of increasing or decreasing farmers' vulnerability to drought, but far better in terms of the risks they involved.

Mots-clés : pratique culturale; irrigation; changement climatique; sécheresse; adaptation aux changements climatiques; ressource en eau; gestion des eaux; thaïlande

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