What shapes farmers’ perception of climate change? A case study of southern Brazil

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Abstract

Climate change poses several challenges worldwide, including the increase in severity and frequency of extreme weather events, such as droughts. As a result, there are projected environmental, economic and social impacts in several sectors, including agriculture. However, the extent of climatic impacts depends on farmers’ awareness and their capacity for adaptation in response to changes in the climate. This study analyzes the factors that influence farmers’ perception of climate change. Data were collected from a farm-household survey in the Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil. Using a logistic regression model, we identified that farm size, support of extension workers, number of conservation practices adopted, and ecocentrism value influenced positively the perception. Moreover, we found that farm size relied on government actions, subsidies, and anthropocentric value was affected negatively. These findings showed that socioeconomic and psychological factors shape farmers’ perception of climate change. Extension workers and policymakers should increase farmers' awareness on climate change improving the communication on the nature importance for the ecosystem as a whole (ecocentrism) and/or explaining the importance of nature for human welfare (anthropocentrism).

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Source: INMET (2018)

Fig. 3

Source: INMET (2018)

Change history

Notes

  1. 1.

    We considered adoption of crop rotation if the farmer cultivates in summer harvest at least 25% of land size with maize, according to the recommendation of Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária—EMBRAPA 2011).

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Correspondence to Cristian Rogério Foguesatto.

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Appendices

Appendix 1: Questionnaire

figurea

Appendix 2: Correlation matrix of explanatory variables

Variables Age Farm size Extension work Number of CA Rely on government Subsides Family size Ecocentrism Anthropocentrism Environmental apathy
Age 1          
Farm size − .048 1         
Extension work .170* − .012 1        
Number of CA .020 − .090 − .046 1       
Rely in government − .179* .143 − .120 .010 1      
Subsides − .045 − .059 .020 − .164* .246** 1     
Family size − .179* .045 .102 − .039 .018 .074 1    
Ecocentrism .146 − .066 .125 − .053 .012 − .047 .023 1   
Anthropocentrism .028 .073 .008 − .020 − .087 − .142 − .041 .440** 1  
Environmental apathy .094 − .003 .030 .033 − .068 − .148 − .101 − .067 .284** 1
  1. *Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level
  2. **Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level

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Foguesatto, C.R., Machado, J.A.D. What shapes farmers’ perception of climate change? A case study of southern Brazil. Environ Dev Sustain 23, 1525–1538 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-020-00634-z

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Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Anthropocentrism
  • Drought
  • Ecocentrism
  • Extreme weather events
  • Psychology