Guilherme DePaula, PhD

2012 TRI Fellow in Brazil

Climate Change Adaptation in Brazil: What is the Right Adaptation for Farmers?


The objective of this project is to investigate climate change adaptation methods and technologies for farmers in Brazil.  The relevance of this project is the vulnerability and importance of the agricultural sector and particularly subsistence farming in developing economies like Brazil.  Agriculture is one of the most vulnerable sectors to global climate change (GCC). The agriculture sector of emerging economies represents a large fraction of each country’s income and supports a large number of low income households through subsistence farming.

Brazil is particularly relevant because of its diversity in terms of climate and economic development, and the availability of reliable data.  The models being estimated use large climate variability in Brazil to evaluate farmer behavior in different climates, controlling for socio-economic conditions. This research project is part of a partnership between Yale and Embrapa, the Brazilian agricultural research agency.  Through this partnership Yale has access to the Brazilian 2006 Agricultural Census dataset at the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE).  Using the 2006 Agricultural Census, we are testing whether current choices made by farmers are sensitive to current climate. For example, we are testing if the choice of farm type (crops, livestock, or mixed) is sensitive to climate. Other choices we studying include crop choice, livestock choice, fertilizer, pesticide, irrigation, planting date, harvesting date, single or double cropping, and length of growing season.  For each type of adaptation, we are estimating a probability model that predicts which choice a farmer currently makes.  All impact and adaptation models are being tested for four groups of farmers identified based on income level in order to examine differences in impacts and adaptation strategies for poor and rich farmers in Brazil.