62% of cattle
Shibru, 2001, cited in Desta and Coppock, 2002
(FAO, 2003 a). Natural land resources are being degraded through soil erosion, salinisation of irrigated areas, dryland degradation from overgrazing, over-extraction of ground water, growing susceptibility to disease and build-up of pest resistance favoured by the spread of monocultures and the use of pesticides, and loss of biodiversity and erosion of the genetic resource base when modern varieties displace traditional ones (FAO, 2003b). Small-holder agriculturalists are especially vulnerable to a range of social and environmental stressors (see Table 5.2). The total effect of these processes on agricultural productivity is not clear. Additionally, multiple stresses, such as forest fires and insect outbreaks, increase overall sensitivity (see Section 5.4.5). In fisheries, overexploitation of stocks (see Section 5.4.6), loss of biodiversity, water pollution and changes in water resources (see Box 5.3) also increase the current sensitivity to climate.
5.2.3 Current vulnerability and adaptive capacity in perspective
Current vulnerability to climate variability, including extreme events, is both hazard- and context-dependent (Brooks et al., 2005). For agriculture, forestry and fisheries systems, vulnerability depends on exposure and sensitivity to climate conditions (as discussed above), and on the capacity to cope with changing conditions. A comparison of conditions on both sides of the USA-Mexico border reveals how social, political, economic and historical factors contribute to differential vulnerability among farmers and ranchers living within the same biophysical regime (Vasquez-Leon et al., 2003). Institutional and economic reforms linked to globalisation processes (e.g., removal of subsidies, increased import competition) reduce the capacity of some farmers to respond to climate variability (O'Brien et al., 2004). Efforts to reduce vulnerability and facilitate adaptation to climate change are influenced both positively and negatively by changes associated with globalisation (Eakin and Lemos, 2006).
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