Agroforestry systems in a changing climate: challenges in projecting future performance

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Agroforestry systems are complex assemblages of ecosystem components, each of which responds to climate. Whereas climate change impacts on crops grown in monocultures can reasonably well be projected with process-based crop models, robust models for complex agroforestry systems are not available. Yet impact projections are needed because of the long planning horizons required for adequate management of tree-based ecosystems. This article explores available options for projecting climate change impacts on agroforestry systems, including the development of process-based models, species distribution modeling, climate analogue analysis and field testing in climate analogue locations. Challenges and opportunities of each approach are discussed.

This document is an output of a CIFOR-led project, entitled: "Adaptation of people to climate change in East Africa: Ecosystem services, risk reduction and human well-being". (AdaptEA). This project is being implemented in collaboration with Makerere University, the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Primary funding for this project was provided through a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation (2011 CRD 306). Complementary funding was received from two CIFOR-led projects funded by AusAID (63560) and UNITAR (G.EGP.2011.03). Additional project information and publications are found on the project manager’s staff page, Aaron J.M. Russell.


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