|About the Book|
This book examines local perceptions of environmental change and their related adaptability practices through an analysis of agricultural strategies and crop choices in Guaman-Buem, a rural farming community in Ghana, West Africa that is experiencing significant weather and other environmental shifts. The research addresses how farmers in Guaman-Buem have come to re-evaluate their agricultural strategies in relation to climate change and local experiences of environmental change. Buem history, society, and culture and the narratives that embody Buem understandings of the environment and environmental change are analyzed in relation to agricultural strategies and crop choices. Dominant global definitions and understandings of adaptation in local contexts, particularly in Africa, assume that local subsistence strategies are incapable of dealing with climate change. However, the details of local African adaptation strategies and the relationship between local understandings of environmental change and adaptation have not been thoroughly documented. This research employed household surveys, ethnographic interviews, focus groups, and participant observation to examine rural farmers’ agricultural strategies and illustrate how communities are observing and responding to environmental change. This research demonstrates that Buem farmers are experiencing environmental change through bush fires, droughts, extreme weather, weaker agricultural yields, and a steady decline in natural resources. They are responding to these challenges by experimenting with various imported agricultural strategies, creating safety nets through the extended cultivation of crops resistant to various environmental perturbations, and diversifying their crop choices. Such social responses, largely ignored by the literature on climate change and adaptability, are of crucial importance for understanding local adaptive capacity and in identifying the community and household level social institutions and strategies that are most likely to be effective in adapting to future environmental change.