Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Farmers' Adaptive Capacity towards the Impacts of Global Warming: A Review

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Farmers' Adaptive Capacity towards the Impacts of Global Warming: A Review

Article excerpt

Abstract

Global warming has been detected in Malaysia, and is predicted to worsen in the future. Agriculture is highly dependent on weather stability, and warmer climates are expected to cause formidable challenges to industry. This paper focuses on the impacts of rising temperatures on the environment and farmers' socio-economic situations. Data were obtained through a literature review and document analyses. It can be concluded that rising temperatures have had direct effects on agricultural products, which then affects the income and productivity of farmers. Furthermore, rising temperatures have been found to affect farmers' health and obstruct their social routines, while causing a shortage in terms of food supply. A brief discussion on the need for adaptation is also highlighted, and hopefully this will assist concerned parties to develop adaptation strategies that are in line with farmers' needs and abilities.

Keywords: global warming, farmers, agriculture, environment change

1. Introduction

Agriculture relies greatly on weather stability, and rising temperatures are forecasted to cause problems within industry. Past studies (Elsgaard et al., 2012; Mitchell et al., 2008; Vesselin & Josef, 2005) have considered the challenges brought about by the global warming phenomenon for a number of agricultural branches (e.g. aquaculture, crops, grain crops). Global warming threatens not only the environment but also communities - particularly those who depend on the environment for their livelihood (e.g. farmers & fishermen), as the phenomenon has been found to impinge on their socio-economic aspects (Lacey, 2012; Gonzalez & Sauliere, 2011; Hannah et al., 2008). In a situation where the climate keeps changing, ignoring options for adaptation is unwise. Indeed, strengthening farmers' adaptive capacity towards global warming is vital, as it will assist concerned parties to develop strategies that can enhance their preparation and readiness towards the impacts of rising temperatures, while simultaneously supporting the sustainability of agriculture-dependent industries. The main focus of this study is on farmers' adaptation towards one of the elements of climate change- global warming; it discusses issues pertaining to the impacts of global warming on the agriculture industry, as well as farmers' socio-economic aspects, and the need for farmers' adaptation.

2. Global Warming in Malaysia

People all over the world are exposed to rising temperatures. This is commonly known as global warming, and is caused by greenhouse gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane) trapping heat and light from the sun in the earth's atmosphere, which then results in rising temperatures. A study by Nelson and Serafin (1996) on Malaysia's changing climate patterns predicted that by 2096, local temperatures will increase by between 1.5 and 4.5°C, while a study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007) predicted that Malaysia's temperatures will increase by 0.6 to 4.5°Cby 2060. In line with these studies, Wai et al. (2005) suggested rising temperatures of between 0.99 and 3.44°C per 100 years in several areas in Peninsular Malaysia, while Kwan et al. (2011) found that several areas in Malaysia, such as Bayan Lepas and Ipoh, are facing warmer days, while areas such as Malacca and Miri are facing warmer nights. The findings presented show that Malaysia certainly is getting warmer, and this raises concerns, particularly for those who depend on weather stability (e.g. farmers, fishermen) to conduct their social and economic routines.

3. The Impacts of Global Warming on Agricultural Sectors

Malaysia is a vulnerable country,since both agricultural sustainability and related livelihood sustainability are under threat due to the adverse impacts of global warming. Malaysia has been placed as the 26th largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world,and with an increasing population, this emission rate is expected to grow. …

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