Drought and Agricultural Ecosystem Services in Developing Countries

  • Marzieh Keshavarz
  • Ezatollah KaramiEmail author
Part of the Sustainable Agriculture Reviews book series (SARV, volume 28)


Agricultural system serves as an important source of provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural ecosystem services. However, increased occurrence of drought has reduced ecosystem services provided by agriculture. Climate change is also projected to reduce essential ecosystem services, especially in developing countries. In order to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on farming systems, it is necessary to improve our understanding about ecosystem services and disservices of agriculture and clarify the physical and human factors that drive the flow of ecosystem services, in developing countries. Since the flows of ecosystem services and disservices rely on how agricultural ecosystems are managed, it is also crucial to gain insight into transition of agricultural systems from conventional to multifunctional production systems. Here, since drought is one of the main drivers of change in ecosystem services, droughts incidence in developing world and their impacts on provisioning and non-provisioning services of agriculture are presented. We explain that the capacity of agricultural systems to provide ecosystem services under drought is only one part of the framing for services equation. The other parts are farmers’ willingness to provide additional non-provisioning ecosystem services and their ecosystem-based adaptation to drought. Furthermore, various strategies that are already used to protect soil and water resources or deliver environmental flows during drought are outlined. However, there are some key limitations regarding ecosystem-based adaptation practices, which can hamper their adoption by smallholder farmers, especially in developing countries. Thus, appropriate proactive drought management policies are imperative to facilitate adoption of drought resilient ecosystem based agriculture.


Agriculture Ecosystem services Drought Climate change Developing countries Multifunctional agriculture Smallholder farmers Adaptation Adaptive governance Resilience 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AgriculturePayame Noor UniversityTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Extension and EducationCollege of Agriculture, Shiraz UniversityShirazIran

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