Tuesday 6
Perceptions of change
Martine Antona
› 11:30 - 12:30 (1h)
On Floods and Droughts: Comparing family farmers' perceptions of climate change in three Brazilian biomes - the Amazon, Caatinga and Cerrado
Gabriela Litre  1@  , Diego Lindoso  1@  , Catherine Gucciardi Garcez  1@  , Stéphanie Nasuti  1@  , Jane Simone  1@  , Flávio Eiró  1, 2, *@  , Cristiane Façanha  3@  , Carolina Da Silva  3@  
1 : Centro de Desenvolvimento Sustentável  (CDS-UnB)  -  Website
Centro de Desenvolvimento Sustentável - CDS, Módulo “C”, Campus Darcy Ribeiro - Gleba A - Asa Norte – Brasília-DF -  Brésil
2 : Equipe de recherches sur les inégalités sociales (ERIS)/Equipe CMH  (ERIS-CMH)  -  Website
École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales [EHESS], CNRS : UMR8097
48 Bd. Jourdan 75014 Paris -  France
3 : Universidade do Estado do Mato Grosso  (UNEMAT)  -  Website
* : Corresponding author

Given the growing challenges and opportunities presented by global change, there is an urgent need to reduce the vulnerability and enhance the adaptive capacity of communities that will potentially be most affected, thereby protecting their right to develop in a sustainable way. Risk perception is a subjective dimension of vulnerability. It is the aspect that links hazard risk to adaptive action. Understanding how perception is built and how it determines institutional and individual adaptation is of importance in climate change research. Most of the literature addressing climate change perception and adaptation has been location-specific. Such an approach is limited with respect to the construction of a generalised theory around why and how people perceive and act towards climate change risks. To overcome this limitation, we studied perceptions of climate change risks among smallholder farmers in three contrasting Brazilian biomes: the Amazon (rainforest), and two dryland ecosystems; the Caatinga (semi-arid), and the Cerrado (savannah). This study had two main objectives: 1) Determining whether Brazilian smallholder farmers share perceptions of climate change, extending beyond their environmental and cultural contexts; and 2) Identifying specific adaptation strategies to climate change that appear to be addressed by Brazilian smallholder farmers in contrasting biomes.
Smallholders' perceptions of climate change have been identified through the application of standardised statistical surveys combining closed and open questions in selected municipalities and communities in each of the three biomes. Common traits were identified in the perception of climate variability. Brazilian smallholders suffer from double exposure to climate change and the dramatic swings in markets and institutions, so the intention was to gain a better understanding of a trans-regional and socially embedded environmental phenomenon such as climate change. In spite of existing perceptive barriers, smallholders settled in highly different contexts share perceptions about risks linked to the following phenomena: i) changes in the timing of seasons, ii) decrease in rainfall levels, iii) temperature rises. Smallholders also share adaptation strategies to climate change, like the timing of seeding, which appear to be addressed independently by smallholders of the three biomes. Public policies intended to support adaptive measures and the increase in food security must take subjective risk perception into account within the cultural and environmental contexts of the actors involved.

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