Agroforestry Adaptations to Climate Change in Mountain Areas

Agroforestry Adaptations to Climate
Change in Mountain Areas of South
Asia and East Asia
Dietrich Schmidt-Vogt
Centre for Mountain Ecosystem Studies
Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
ICRAF East Asia Node
Projects at the ICRAF East Asia Node
Central Asia:
Land degradation in dryland ecosystem
Cascading effects of
climate change and
 Local ecological
knowledge and adaptation to
climate change in the
Alpine species response to
climate change
climate change
East Asia:
Deforestation in North Korea
Agroforestry approach for
sloping land management
(supported by SDC)
Mekong Region
Making Mekong Connected (MMC): developing carbon & biodiversity assets in multifunctional landscapes (BMZ
Exploring Mekong Mekong Future (CSIRO Project)
Impacts of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Enhancing Carbon Stocks (EU)
What is agroforestry?
• Agroforestry is an integrated approach that seeks
to improve livelihoods and ecosystem services by
combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or
• In a context of global change, agroforestry is an
approach to strengthen resilience of farmers and
communities in the face of stress and shocks,
mainly by building on diversification.
• The World Agroforestry Center has adopted a
landscape approach to its operations which
considers agroforestry as one of many components
of complex landscapes.
Climate Change in Mountain Areas
Climate change and climate variability require resilience,
especially in mountain areas, where the effects of
climate change are often more pronounced than in
adjacent lowland areas.
- Can combining trees with crops and/or animals be
regarded as a suitable adaptive strategy leading to
greater resilience in the face of climate change?
- Do mountains provide particular opportunities or
constraints for agroforestry as an adaptive strategy
to climate change?
Case studies from Central Nepal and SW
Baoshan: land use and climate change
Land Use
Complex farming systems with
agricultural and tree crops:
Agricultural crops:
rice, wheat, barley, sugar
cane, tree crops
Tree crops
Walnut, coffee, tea, pear,
sichuan pepper
Increasing precipitation
Severe drought in 2009-2010
Baoshan: impact on farming
Agricultural crop yields
declined more than tree crop
Strong contrast in susceptibility
between tree species and between
age groups of tree species
Mustang: land use and climate
Land use
- Cereals and vegetables
- Temperate tree crops
Climate change
• Increasing temperatures
• Increasing but also
increasingly erratic rainfall
• Decreasing snowfall
Mustang: impact and response
• Decline of apple production
in lower Mustang
• Better conditions for
• Shifting apple production
from lower to upper
• Intercropping cereals and
vegetables with apple trees
in lower Mustang
• Diversity of crops and trees
on farm-level has helped to
mitigate drought impacts
• Especially walnut trees have
survived with higher
productivity and lower
• Existing agroforestry
systems have proven
• Due to the diversity of
available environments in a
complex mountain
landscape, climate change
has increased the diversity
of land use systems both on
the landscape and farm
• New agroforestry systems
have been adopted in
response to climate change
The use of trees in responding to climate change
and extreme weather events is not a panacea
but can be a viable approach within strategies of
agricultural and livelihood diversification to
improve community resilience.
The complexity of mountain environments can
be an asset for more flexibility in the face of
climate change.