challenges & opportunities
Changing landscapes, changing livelihoods: what are the drivers of changes and their impacts?
Traditional upland agriculture is rapidly transforming as upland farmers engage the market economy. The remaining shifting cultivators are those who do not have other livelihood options and are among the most vulnerable populations. Abrupt integration to markets by former subsistence farmers through cash crop booms, large scale land acquisitions, seasonal migrations, contract farming, etc. undermines traditional agricultural practices. Buffering the negative environmental and socioeconomic impacts of these inevitable changes is a key challenge.
Changing farming practices: how to increase the resilience of uplands systems?
Adaptive capacities of upland communities to climate change and economic fluctuations are undermined by the on-going process of agricultural specialisation. Many farmers are now involved in intensive mono-cropping, which often results in land degradation, loss of agrobiodiversity and indebtedness. Former multifunctional landscapes are less diverse and more vulnerable to climatic events. Reintroducing diversity, preventing land degradation and enhancing soil carbon would help maintaining the resilience of upland systems.