Adapting to a Changing Environment

Organization: 
Meteorological Centre of Villa Clara

Entry Overview

General Info
Ismabel Maria
Domïnguez Hurtado
Email : 
ismabel.dominguez@vcl.insmet.cu
Organization Address: 
Unin 249 L, e/ Nazareno y San Miguel, Santa Clara
Villa Clara,
Cuba
Problem
Population Impacted: 
236 467
Size: 

513.7 km2 (198 sq mi)

Major Occupations: 
agriculture, including agroforestry.
Local resources the community depends on, and for what purpose: 
The natural resources used are water, soil, climate and biodiversity, primarily for fundamental activity: agriculture. First, water is used in irrigation activities and domestic chores charge carried mainly by women.
Local threats to resources: 
Water resources: There are numerous microdams and reservoirs with no defined use, although in all poaching is practiced commercially. It is also recurrent use of poison as a method of capture. Other threats present on this resource are in the rising....
Climate Hazards: 
According to the local meteorological service, the territory of Santa Clara is exposed to both the influence of tropical synoptic meteorological processes as extratropical latitudes own. It is precisely the latter, is to say, extratropical processes causing increased climate variability in dry season. It is at this time of year that abrupt changes occur daily weather, associated with the passage of frontal systems, the influence of continental anticyclone and extra tropical cyclones.
Level of exposure to these hazards: 
From May to October, during the summer or rainy season, the most significant changes of the time step associated with the tropical wave, tropical cyclone formation and other processes of disturbance. The most significant hazardous events are hurricanes, tornadoes, storms online, strong cold fronts called "Souths". During the involvement of such events occur most notable wind speeds.
Level of sensitivity: 
From the 80s to date analysis area has been exposed to tropical cyclones affecting seven. Using the chronology of 95 years corresponding to the winter seasons from 1916-1917 to 2010-2011, we can say that Santa Clara has been affected by cold fronts, for an average of 13 per season. Of these, about half were weak, about 41% moderate and 9% severe. In the case of potential flooding by heavy rains, when analyzing the total vulnerability (considering this concept structural vulnerabilities, physical, social, non-structural) only two councils a total of 19, have securities classified as low, rest lies with medium or high vulnerability which illustrates the level of exposure to such events. In the case of strong winds, the type and technical condition of the houses also of tree density condition a high total vulnerability. In this case, it is noteworthy that the total social vulnerability behaves similarly for all intensities of events; however it is significant for a category V hurricane, of which there are no reports. Tropical cyclones are characteristic phenomena postulates meeting the Poisson model, because of the small probability of occurrence in hyper annual series with a long observational period, and independence inherent stochastic seasonal evolution. In the analysis developed by Machado et al. (2011), the return period of the involvement of a tropical cyclone / year is 3.82, while for two cyclones affecting us in one year is equal to 27.2 years
Level of adaptive capacity: 
The ability can be classified as medium. The environmental culture is not high. While there is recognition of climate change and its effects, it looks like a distant problem with few possible solutions from local. Learning to recovery for the damages of adverse weather events agriculture is very good, for example farmers choose to use short-cycle crops before permanent crops, to minimize the negative effects of climate variability. On the other hand, there are social networking communities where cooperation is common practice (for example, CDR or FMC)
Solution
Describe Your Solution: 

For the improvement in risk management implemented a counseling service from agrometeorological station located in the rural area and closer to the producers. The same, by the importance of conservation of water resources and the variability presented in a mostly rainfed agricultural model was divided into counseling service: irrigation and agro-meteorological services for climate change adaptation in general The agrometeorological advisory service for irrigation helps producers to achieve properly use of water resources and aims to allow users to manage water efficiently, giving the plant enough water in a timely manner. The frequency of the information of water consumption of plants given to the producers is every ten days. The service is transmitted through the local radio broadcasting, with specific timetables. Evapotranspiration of the previous ten-days period is evaluated, and this variable is forecasted for the current tens according to the weather forecast for the next ten days and climate forecasting. The agrometeorological forecasts for periods of ten days is constructed from weather forecasts in the short and medium term and the expected trends in climate forecasting of monthly rainfall and temperatures, taking into account the local history of the behavior of the elements predicted. The agrometeorological forecasts for periods of five days and daily forecasts are constructed from weather forecasts in the short and medium term, in addition to the use of numerical models. Calculation of evapotranspiration is done by the Penman-Monteith formula recommended by FAO, with the values of resistance and default coefficients resulting from the calculations for the standardized conditions in Cuba. The data used for all calculations are from the daily reports of weather stations in our province (Institute of Meteorology, INSMET), joined with reports of stations of the National Institute for Water Resources (INRH). The outputs of the service are: I) Estimation of the weekly water needs of crops. II) Evaluation of the state of operation of irrigation equipment. III) Monitoring results of the response of field crops to irrigation recommended. IV) Availability of agrometeorological data. V) Information collected on irrigation. The information is provided from the weather station to the Meteorological Center, and then transmitted directly to all the specialists and farmers by the local radio station at coordinated time. The service is not only used by specialists or those in the units responsible for the irrigation of agricultural production. It is also used by government authorities, such as councils or Watersheds, and Environment Management officials from the territory of any form. This service has been used into operational practice from 2005 and unexpectedly the supplied information is not only used directly for irrigation purpose, but it is also widely used by farmers of near towns. Another element of the solution was in the information. It was ready a digital compilation of information and a Digital Catalogue of Plants with potential to be used in conditions of acidity, salinity and / or drought.

Results
Ecological Costs: 
There is no ecological cost of our strategy.
Ecological Benefit: 
Reduced use of pesticides to control pests. Reduced emissions of greenhouse gases by use of draft animals in farming Reduction of erosion and soil loss. Conservaci�n de los bosques y la biodiversidad asociada a ellos.
Economic Indicators used to measure benefit: 

Environmentally, using the service contributes to the preservation of forests and agricultural crops Cuban (carbon sinks) and maintain biodiversity (Community Reports Environmental monitoring results developed by state agencies)

Community/Social Benefit: 
Strengthening family ties Strengthening linkages between community members Establishing new community links with professional associations and institutions specialized in counseling. Created a space in the media for the dissemination of successful experiences in climate change adaptation. Rescue and maintenance of traditional knowledge and culture of the farmer.
Community/Social Indicators used to measure benefit: 
Reducci�n de la violencia interg�nero Aumento de la ocupaci�n de l
Economic Cost: 

Advisory service costs

Economic Benefit: 

The cost-benefit analysis would demonstrate that the implementation of the service, farmers get an increase of 2.5% of their earnings in crops like potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L), bananas (Musa spp.) and tomatoes (Lycopersicum esculentum Wild). Moreover, all the beneficiaries acknowledge that the service has significantly Improved water management and operations, to know in advance which the most opportune time to irrigate is.

Ecological Indicators used to measure benefit: 

Quantification of an economic indicator of the solution is complicated, but for example it has been estimated that the introduction of the same a decrease of 1% of average economic losses caused by forest fires during the period 2003 to 2006 ($ 3,205,272.73), it represents in the seven years starting around $ 22436909.1 (Cuban pesos). (Bureau of Statistics)

What were/are the challenges your community faced in implementing this solution?: 

The difficulties have a very wide spectrum socially, economically and technically: a) The use of the system depends on decisions of the Agricultural Enterprises and of other units of the Ministry of Agriculture, which usually depend on funding. b) Insufficient technical personnel necessary to cover the needs of the irrigated areas in the productive units. c) Lack of the basic information necessary agronomically, thus weakening the scientific-technical support and rigor of the methodologies used in the Irrigation Scheduling. To avoid this, it must maintain a minimum number of field technicians to inspect areas that can be irrigated apply the service. d) Poor connection between beneficiaries (users) and technicians responsible for the service. e) The tuning of the times of broadcasting the information by the radio to the work schedule of the farmers. Transfer of agrometeorological information to farmers is done in different ways. Meteorological Services use different options, such as periodical bulletins (printed or web), mass media: TV, radio or newspapers and/or e?mails. Perception studies developed in areas around an agrometeorological showed that meteorological information was useful to most of the farmers. However, a considerable portion of the farmers was unaware of the concepts and scope of agricultural meteorology. Moreover, it was found that the national television news (NTV) and/or national radio stations were selected more often as the first source of weather information, followed by the local television channel (TELECUBANAC?N) and/or local radio. Respondents to this questionnaire, all of them farmers, this way always kept themselves informed on the weather situation and used that information mostly for planning purposes. What can we do to improve on that situation? How to convey more specific agrometeorological information safely and understandably to producers? To solve this problem, our conditions demand to make a differentiation, because obviously messages aimed at managers of agricultural enterprises differ from those whose receptors are individual producers. In the area these actors generally do not have access to electronic networks and in many cases even lack telephones, to mention two elements considered limitations for the design or establishment of any information system. These considerations led to the creation of a system for information transport, the so called Remote Web System, which was established on the basis of a link point to point (P2P), which has certain technical advantages, including: i) updating is independent of user intervention, ii) provides a framework for the review of information, iii) allows for secure information exchange between supplier and customer and iv) the supplier has all the statistical use and it is easy to determine any violation of the regulations. Remote Web System contributed to the solution, but only partially because lack of telephone lines and modems capable to cover all customers in a minimum of time, was, next to website design (requires a more ?flexible? website) and training, the most important constraint. The problem for individual farmers remains because we aimed at farm managers. Certainly, we are not satisfied! What to do? It imposes the need to ?downscale? the role of agrometeorological stations, which should not only be "centers for collecting data and information" but also something like a referral and consultation center at the local level.

Action
Describe the community-based process used to develop the solution including tools and processes used: 

The community is the major player when it comes to the implementation of the proposed solutions to climate change adaptation. Underlying all efforts to reduce the vulnerability is the need for community participation. In Cuban society is remarkable the degree of social mobilization and organization. In this case we chose a communication strategy for "normal" times (preventive) that is a step in the consolidation of a culture of prevention or risk reduction. The process has five steps: i) diagnosis with the community, ii) exchange between the crew and producers in the area, iii) development of an Action Plan, iv) monitoring and evaluation farmer experimentation, v) disclosure and recognition the results of the experience. All actions are developed through the Cuban Association of Agricultural and Forestry Technicians (ACTAF) who brings together farmers and technicians in the area, Yabu agrometeorological station, the farming of the same name besides their own local government and the variant used was on-site training. The promotion, held mainly by ACTAF and the agrometeorological station, among small farmers in the techniques of conservation agriculture, including agricultural waste management and the adoption of appropriate farming methods that do not have adverse effects on the stability of soil structure. These agricultural practices including agro-meteorological forecasts at different time scales, foster improvements in the conservation of soil and water, fixing carbon stocks and organic matter in agricultural soils by increasing their productivity and fertility, as well as reduce the incidence of forest fires caused by the use of burning as tillage practice. It is important to note that all actions planned under the project themselves constitute sustainable solutions to the current environmental fragility, who strengthen their ability to meet present and future adverse effects of climate change. As part of the implementation of the solution developed by the Delegation of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment in the territory, three studies to evaluate scenarios of hazard, risk and vulnerability (for its acronym in Spanish, PVR) to evaluate high winds, heavy rains and drought. All actions began to be implemented from 2003.

Climate hazard of concern: 
Other
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the ecosystem affected?: 

The main economic activity in this community is agriculture community. The introduction of sustainable agriculture fosters better conservation of natural resources. The technologies introduced that were taxed to increased water retention points on the ground were selected, such as deep-rooted crops low evapotranspiration, biofertilizers, minimum tillage, drought tolerant crops, organic fertilizers and spatial arrangements. The introduction and strengthening of drought tolerant species and the search for new alternative technologies, management brings new ways of making and conservation of local varieties, on the other hand, the implementation of variants aimed at nutrition with organic sources to crops, are next to agricultural diversity, elements that lead to a more balanced agro-ecosystem management.

How does your solution reduce the sensitivity of the ecosystem affected?: 

One of the proposed actions (agrometeorological advice) helps to reduce the sensitivity of the ecosystem by stopping the progress of degradation, through the implementation of systems and technologies for conservation and improvement, and sustainable agricultural systems and appropriate agroforestry. Moreover, timely warnings of hazardous conditions minimize wildfire losses in forest cover and associated biodiversity, and contribute to lower CO2 emissions due to burning. The measures (reforestation) foster the development of carbon sinks. Particularly, one of the shares on the diversification of agricultural species and the creation of multiple cropping systems help to regulate the march of air temperature and soil.

How has your solution increased the capacity of the ecosystem to adapt to potential climate changes?: 

The solution helps to reduce anthropogenic pressure on natural resources. Farmers reduce environmental damage by using friendlier solutions, for example the replacement of chemicals by biological (including products made locally) or reducing water demand by better planning of irrigation and more efficient water management.

How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the communities affected?: 

The solutions provided (from the weather counseling to sustainable land management) help minimize the losses caused by the negative effects of climate variability and climate change on agricultural production. Among the proposals is to enhance the diversity of agricultural species that help in improving family consumption systems.

How does your solution reduce the sensitivity of the communities affected?: 

The farmers diversified agricultural production by expanding the cultivated species, monoculture was also gradually replaced by polyculture and agroforestry systems.

How has your solution increased the capacity of local communities to adapt to potential climate changes?: 

The most important goals of the solution are: a) Farm technologies are optimized for different purposes such as maximizing food production or profit. b) Enlarge the availability of the service, for example, the frequency of radio broadcasts of weather information and including local television channels to introduce a visual map. c) Increase of training activities so that more farmers can apply and use a more complete information transmitted.

Scale
Can this solution be replicated elsewhere?: 

There is wide scope for extension and generalization of our experience. In fact, the system can be used everywhere, just need a running flow of information. The main obstacles are the availability and representativeness of meteorological data. The introduction of this kind of solutions requires, not only the human resources, equipment and suitable methodologies, an also needs of in-depth knowledge of the environment in which agricultural production develops each activity, which asks attention for the following aspects: a) Local climate and weather conditions of the agricultural season. Weather stations are an important pillar of advice on strategies that optimize the use of water and climate resources. The service to be optimums requires a wide network of agroclimatic quality information covering most of the irrigated area. Time data series are also essential in order to establish timetables, means and forecasts for planning irrigation. b) Nature of the soil in the area of pilot farms. c) Origin, availability and quality of irrigation water. d) Production Systems prevailing in the area. Also, it is necessary to know their production averages, the cost of water, operating costs, operating income and net profit of each farming system. e) Irrigation systems uses, materials, features, operating conditions, etc. This information is essential for planning assessments of the facilities where information is used as basement for improvements and irrigation scheduling. f) Needs of farmers in terms of knowledge and problems in the management of irrigation: state of irrigation systems and the process of implementation of water management in their plots. With all this information, you can do a general analysis of the operation area, which is necessary to develop the initial plan of advanced operation, alternatives of irrigation facilities to evaluate methodology to be selected, how to follow irrigation scheduling, reports to develop and to disseminate the results. For the Irrigation advisory service, pilot parcels are the keys of good performance of the proposed system, in which irrigation decisions are taken using the information frequently provided. They have served as a demonstration points of effectiveness, and also to win the confidence of other farmers in the use of our information service.

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