Evidence of Agroecology’s Contribution to Mitigation, Adaptation, and Resilience Under Climate Variability and Change in Latin America
Agroecology is highly promoted in research and development discourse as a holistic and effective response to climate change. The objective of this study is to contribute to the analysis of the existing evidence that agroecology enables climate change (CC) adaptation and mitigation in the agricultural systems of Latin America, a region known for pioneering the development of this science, praxis, and movement.
We applied the PRISMA method to analyze the existing literature providing such evidence. Stakeholder interviews were used to obtain in-depth perceptions of agroecology’s contributions to CC adaptation and mitigation from a wide range of actors and development practitioners based in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru: farmers, NGO representatives, researchers, university program leaders, and public officials. From a total of 1821 initially identified articles, 62 were screened, and 24 case studies analyzed for methods and evidence provided. Twenty-six stakeholders were interviewed.
Combining quantitative and qualitative assessment methods, the scientific literature shows that agroecological systems are appreciated for addressing resilience in a systemic way hence not just climate change per se. Mitigation was generally assess by quantitative approaches. Integrating stakeholders’ discourse to our analysis highlighted their knowledge of underlying processes contributing to farm CC resilience, where crop and animal diversification and integration of trees into farming systems are central. Stakeholders attributed agroforestry and less use of synthetic fertilizers as important roles for mitigation.
Our study highlights the pertinence of combining systematic analyses of the evidence and perceptions drawn from a plurality of stakeholders to recognize the positive contribution of agroecology to climate change adaptation and resilience. However, it also pointed to future research that further assesses the specific trade-offs and synergies between agroecological practices, mitigation, and resilience at multiple scales. This will be important to mobilize and better orient the support from public institutions and donors that remains lacking on the ground.