Agroforestry for Climate Change Adaptation, Resilience Enhancement and Vulnerability Attenuation in Smallholder Farming Systems in Cameroon
Abstract: The adverse impacts of climate variability and change are felt mostly by smallholder farmers and smallholder farming systems where rainfed agriculture is predominant. Continuous dependence on rain-fed agriculture has led to declining crop productivity and crop failure in most cases as weather patterns shift which is very problematic for crop growth. Agroforestry which is one of the climate-smart, environmentally benign and agroecological practices has been found to mitigate climate change adversities while fostering adaptation, enhancing resilience and attenuating vulnerability especially in smallholder farming systems. However, in Cameroon, limited empirical research has been done to ascertain the role played by agroforestry in climate change adaptation, resilience enhancement and vulnerability attenuation. This paper which is based on an in-depth review of literature was undertaken to uncover what has been done so far in terms of empirical studies tackling the role played by agroforestry in climate change adaptation, resilience and vulnerability attenuation in Cameroon. It was found that most of the empirical studies have been carried out in one agroecological zone – the western highlands of Cameroon, showing that smallholder farmers adopt different agroforestry practices in the face of climate change with the most common being home gardens with livestock, home gardens without livestock, scattered trees on croplands, improved fallows, live fences/hedges and windbreaks, coffeebased agroforestry, cocoa-based agroforestry, apiculture-based agroforestry, fodder banks, and plantation crop-based agroforestry practices. These agroforestry practices provide a plethora of ecosystem services categorized into provisioning, supporting, regulating and cultural which play an important role towards fostering climate change adaptation, enhancing resilience and attenuating vulnerability in smallholder farming systems. From the findings uncovered by this study, it is imperative for more empirical studies to be carried out in the other four agroecological zones of Cameroon where there is a paucity of information regarding the role played by agroforestry towards fostering climate change adaptation, enhancing resilience and attenuating vulnerability in smallholder farming systems.
Keywords: adaptation / smallholder / attenuating vulnerability / agroforestry / climate change / agroecological zone / farmers / enhancement and vulnerability
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