Assessment of climate vulnerability on the Brazilian coffee farms

Authors: Ilyun Koh*, Boston University, Rachael Garrett, Boston Univesity, Anthony Janetos, Boston University
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: Vulnerability, climate change, coffee, Brazil
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Mid-City, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Brazil is the world’s leading coffee export country and the majority of its producers are smallholder farmers. Due to the climate change, the change in temperature and precipitation are expected to decrease coffee yield in Brazil and the negative impacts will be greater in the long-run. The smallholder farmers are prone to the climate change because their economic activities are dependent on the biophysical conditions. In addition, their poor socioeconomic conditions accelerate the climate change risks.

To measure the magnitude of these conditions, this study aims to assess the vulnerability in biophysical (exposure) and socioeconomic (adaptive capacity) contexts. To achieve this goal, the following four steps are conducted. First, the historical relationship between climate (temperature and precipitation) and coffee yield is analyzed using panel data method. Second, expected yields for several climate scenarios are generated and visualized in maps. Third, Next, I generated Vulnerability Index (VI) to quantify the extent of the vulnerability. Lastly, I overlaid VI on future scenarios to find out regions that are both vulnerable and affected by extreme climate impacts on yield.

Assessing the spatial relationship allows us to find out, regions with the highest exposure & lowest adaptive capacity where the climate shock is high will be also identified. Next, I validated the assessment through my fieldwork at the coffee farms in Brazil. Insights from the interviews with the coffee farmers would further investigate their vulnerabilities. Ultimately, the evidence from this research would assist to evaluate current policies and development projects that deal with vulnerability.

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