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. 2020 Aug;49(8):1437-1449.
doi: 10.1007/s13280-019-01275-x. Epub 2019 Nov 5.

Climate Change Extremes and Barriers to Successful Adaptation Outcomes: Disentangling a Paradox in the Semi-Arid Savanna Zone of Northern Ghana

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Free PMC article

Climate Change Extremes and Barriers to Successful Adaptation Outcomes: Disentangling a Paradox in the Semi-Arid Savanna Zone of Northern Ghana

Frederick Dapilah et al. Ambio. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

The literature on barriers to climate change adaptation has largely focused on non-climatic barriers and has provided less insight into climate-induced barriers. Responding to this lacuna, this paper examines the connections between climate change and agricultural adaptation strategies of smallholder farmers in northern Ghana. Results from the qualitative fieldwork show that climatic changes have been accompanied by increases in climate change extremes (CCEs) over the last three decades. In order to adapt, smallholder farmers use improved crop varieties and other support strategies. Paradoxically, however, CCEs have undermined these strategies in several instances, causing crop yields to fall short of their actual potential and leading to financial indebtedness. Therefore, the results showcase that overcoming non-climatic barriers to the uptake of agricultural adaptation strategies is a necessary but insufficient condition for achieving successful adaptation outcomes. This is the case since new barriers to the adaptation process are constantly emerging, and CCEs are an example of this.

Keywords: Barriers to adaptation; Climate change extremes; Drought; Floods; Northern Ghana; Successful adaptation.

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