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Environmental Management

, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 94–109 | Cite as

Crop Growers’ Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change: A Situated Study of Agriculture in Arizona’s Verde Valley

  • Elizabeth Douglass-GallagherEmail author
  • Diana Stuart
Article
  • 57 Downloads

Abstract

Climate change will pose unprecedented challenges for agricultural producers globally, requiring the ability to adapt to new and unpredictable conditions. This study explores the adaptive capacity of crop growers in the Verde Valley, Arizona (US). Rather than examining pre-determined indicators of adaptive capacity, this study adopts a situated framework that examines material conditions, perceptions, and the larger social context. Interviewers used past experiences and future scenarios to allow factors that enhance or constrain adaptive capacity to emerge from the interviews. Findings reveal adaptation is site specific but general measures can be taken to enhance adaptive capacity. Encouraging diversity in crops and water sources, the use of drought and heat tolerant crops, and the use of water conservation practices will likely increase growers' adaptive capacity. In contrast, lack of support from organizations and government programs, lack of diverse crops and sources of water, lack of awareness about climate change, and growers' confidence in their ability to always adapt impairs adaptive capacity. Verde Valley growers will need increased support from local and national organizations to adapt to projected changes. The situated framework applied in this study reveals important insights and could be used to explore adaptive capacity in other agricultural regions.

Keywords

Climate change Agriculture Adaptive capacity Water Arizona 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by Northern Arizona University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

267_2018_1114_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary Information

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rio Grande Phenology Trail and Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring ProgramBosque SchoolAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Sustainable Communities Program and School of Earth Sciences and Environmental SustainabilityNorthern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA

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