A framework for individual and shared preferences for ecosystem services trade-offs
In Sub-Saharan Africa, climate change, urbanization, population growth and increasing agricultural demands have led to many ecosystems being converted or degraded. Poverty and malnutrition rates are high, especially in rural areas, increasing people’s vulnerability to climatic variation. Climate smart agriculture is being hailed as an approach to increase farmers’ livelihoods and resilience.
The project developed a set of trade-off analyses to assess the contribution of climate smart agriculture (CSA) to more sustainable development pathways in Malawi. At district level, a scenario analysis assessed the potential impacts of scaling up climate smart agriculture on social, economic and environmental objectives. It demonstrated that these land use decisions often involve complex trade-offs and were unlikely to benefit the most vulnerable stakeholders unless enabling and supporting action would be undertaken.
At household level, by using individual and deliberative choice experiments and multi-criteria analyses, the project demonstrated that different climate smart agriculture options impose different upfront costs and risks onto farmers. This means that not only will farmers want different climate smart agriculture techniques, but also climate smart agriculture interventions will have to be tailored to local conditions and vulnerable groups.
About Dr Marije Schaafsma
Marije is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton. Marije is an environmental economist and is interested in decisions concerning ecosystem management and human development. She specialises in the application of economic methods to inform such decisions and trade-offs, and her recent work focuses primarily on Sub-Saharan Africa and Mexico.