Tuesday 6
How to enhance agrifood resilience? - Operationalising resilience approaches
Helena Kahiluoto, Karoliina Rimhanen, Miia Kuisma
› 15:45 - 16:40 (55min)
An empirical assessment method for resilience through diversification – An application in forage plants
Hanna Mäkinen  1, *@  , Janne Kaseva  1@  , Perttu Virkajärvi  1@  , Mirek Trnka  2@  , Helena Kahiluoto  1@  
1 : MTT Agrifood Research Finland  (MTT)
2 : Institute of Agrosystems and Bioclimatology, CzechGlobe – Global Change Research Centre AV CR v.v.i.
* : Corresponding author

Existing uncertainty caused by climate change and socio-economic variability highlights the urgency of building and maintaining resilience and adaptive capacity in agrifood systems (Thompson & Scoones 2009). However, operationalizing agrifood resilience to enable management has been limited. Diversity is often associated with resilience. However, not any kind of diversity necessarily enhances resilience while the diversity of responses is critical to resilience, particularly in face of change and variation (Kahiluoto et al., 2013, Elmqvist et al., 2003). Such response diversity reflects the ability to react to changes in various ways within one function, and thus secures the function in different environments.

In this study we, operationalize resilience as the ability of the agrifood system to maintain good performance (e.g., yield, farm revenue, access to food) in a face of change, variation and shocks. We empirically assess response diversity and demonstrate the assessment as a means to enhance resilience of social-ecological systems such as agrifood system. Here, we illustrate the approach of quantifying the response diversity in the case of forage plants (timothy (Phleum pratense L.), meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis L.), tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea L.), rye fescue (Festulolium L.), red clover (Trifolium pratense L.), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and their cultivars). We test the hypothesis that forage plant species and their cultivars show response diversity, which could be used to protect the yield of a selected set or mixture of species and cultivars against critical weather fluctuation. We determine, whether, and to what kind of variability and change, there appears response diversity within the present set of available species and cultivars. We are studying also to which weather variables diversity in response should be strengthened to improve the adaptive capacity of the available set of species and cultivars. Forage plants were chosen as a case study because they play a central role in dairy farming in many countries (e.g. in Finland, Norway, Austria, and Scotland), and thus it is the agricultural production line with the high economic significance, and grass mixtures are the cornerstone in their diet.

The analyses were started with identifying the critical factors of change and variation to the system performance: hypothetically critical agro-meteorological variables that might damage yields, quality and winter survival were pre-selected and tested. The data from the Official variety trials of MTT Agrifood Research Finland (126 cultivars) and the weather data of Finnish Meteorological Institute for 1979 to 2012 were used and matched to the phenology of the crops. The method of quantifying the response diversity and results of this empirical application will be presented to demonstrate the usefulness of the approach in assessment and management for resilience in agrifood systems.

Elmqvist, T., C. Folke, M. Nyström, G. Peterson, J. Bengtsson, B. Walker, & J. Norberg. 2003. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 1:488-494.

Kahiluoto H, Kaseva J, Hakala K, Himanen SJ, Jauhiainen L, Rötter R, & Trnka M. 2013. Submitted.

Thompson, J & Scoones, I 2009. Environmental Science and Policy 12: 386–397.

Online user: 1 RSS Feed