What can agroecology do for climate change adaptation and food security? – The Case of soil protection and rehabilitation

Climate change poses a threat to food security in many parts of the world. Small-holder farmers facing high barriers for adaptation are at the forefront of this. Systemic approaches such as agroecology are needed to sustainably transform food systems and improve food security while fostering adaptation to climate change and resilience.

Many climate risks like droughts or flash floods manifest themselves on the intersection of soils and water. While agroecological practices for soil protection and rehabilitation support climate change mitigation by increasing soil organic carbon and vegetation, they also offer effective adaption options. They address vulnerabilities to extreme and slow onset events i.e., by increasing water holding capacity of soils and directly address climate impacts such as water erosion. Considering the local feasibility of practices along their effectiveness in addressing specific climate risk is crucial for realizing this potential.

This brief draws from participatory assessments of agroecological practices for soil protection and rehabilitation in 7 countries. It demonstrates how such practices can contribute to effective adaptation strategies and provides recommendations on integrating adaptation concerns into soil health interventions.