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UNH researchers find African farmers need better climate change data to improve farming practices
Date:3/14/2012

DURHAM, N.H. Researchers from the University of New Hampshire have found that many African farmers inaccurately perceive changes in climate and rainfall when compared with scientific data, highlighting the need for better climate information to assist them to improve farming practices.

"Quantifying local people's perceptions to climate change, and their assessments of which changes matter, is fundamental to addressing the dual challenge of land conservation and poverty alleviation in densely populated tropical regions," said Joel Hartter, assistant professor of geography at UNH and the principal investigator on the project.

The research is presented in the online journal PLoS ONE in the article "Patterns and Perceptions of Climate Change in a Biodiversity Conservation Hotspot." In addition to Hartter, the research team also includes Mary Stampone, assistant professor of geography at UNH and New Hampshire state climatologist; Sadie Ryan of the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California Santa Barbara; Karen Kirner of the University of Florida; Colin Chapman of McGill University and the Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, New York; and Abraham Goldman of the University of Florida.

The researchers investigated farming practices and perceptions of climate change in the Albertine Rift region in East Africa, one of the world's most threatened biodiversity hotspots due to dense agriculture, high levels of land and resource pressures, and habitat loss and conversion. This leads to high potential for conservation conflict. They relied on three separate household surveys conducted in the vicinity of Kibale National Park, a small forest park along the equator in Uganda known for its large population of endangered chimpanzees.

The researchers found that farmers are concerned with variable precipitation. M
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Contact: Lori Wright
lori.wright@unh.edu
603-862-0574
University of New Hampshire
Source:Eurekalert

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