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Farmer Response to Projected Climate Change in Northern Norway
Kvalvik, I., Dalmannsdottir, S., Dannevig, H., Hovelsrud, G., Ronning, L. and Uleberg, E. 2011. Climate change vulnerability and adaptive capacity in the agricultural sector in Northern Norway. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Soil & Plant Science 61, Supplement 1: 27-37.

In Norway, and Northern Norway in particular, according to the authors, the consequences of predicted climate change "are not straightforward, but dependent on the interaction between different weather and biological elements, as well as political, economic and social conditions."

What was done
In their interdisciplinary study of this complex situation, Kvalvik et al. state that they "assessed biological and agronomic effects of climate change, and their interaction with political, economic and social factors to identify farmers' vulnerability and adaptive capacity to climate change," based on "downscaled climate change scenarios and interviews with local farmers in the three northernmost counties in Northern Norway (latitude 65.5° to 70°N)."

What was learned
The six scientists report that "the farmers themselves are willing to use the opportunities afforded by a more favorable climate," and they say that "a warmer climate is generally regarded as favorable by the farmers in our study region." Nevertheless, they write that "our study of farmers in Northern Norway shows that they are, to a degree, vulnerable to a changing climate, not because of the direct effect of changing growing conditions, but because these changes are an added factor to an already tenuous situation created by Norwegian agricultural policy and the socio-economic development in general," which they say "poses a greater challenge to farming and is likely to reduce the farmers' adaptive capacity."

What it means
Kvalvik et al. conclude that farmers in Northern Norway "are highly adaptive, to both changing growing conditions and changing agricultural policies." However, they say that "changes in policy are currently a greater challenge to farmers than climate change," and that "such changes are therefore a more salient driver of vulnerability," implying that the Norwegian government's presumptive cure for the disease of global warming (which is described in some detail in their paper) is probably no cure at all, and possibly worse than the disease itself.

Reviewed 18 April 2012