Meza Rodriguez, Maria Isabel: Characterizing and assessing drought risks for agricultural systems : Integrating socioecological approaches at global and national levels. - Bonn, 2024. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Maria Isabel Meza Rodriguez}},
title = {Characterizing and assessing drought risks for agricultural systems : Integrating socioecological approaches at global and national levels},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2024,
month = may,

note = {Droughts are complex, multifaceted hazards that affect many regions of the world. They cascade through socioecological systems at different scales and cause severe environmental and social impacts. Agriculture bears much of the impact and, in many countries, it is the most heavily affected sector. As agricultural systems are social-ecological systems characterised by close human-environmental interaction, drought risk assessments for agricultural systems should be based on a socioecological system's perspective. Despite this, comprehensive drought risk assessments that consider the complex interaction of drought hazards, exposure, and vulnerability factors with a social-ecological approach are still the exception. Addressing this gap, this thesis presents for the first time an integrated assessment of drought risk for both irrigated and rainfed agricultural systems at the global and national scales. At the global scale, composite hazard indicators were calculated for irrigated and rainfed systems separately using different drought indices based on historical climate conditions. Exposure was analysed for irrigated and non-irrigated crops. Vulnerability was assessed through a socioecological system (SES) perspective, using socioecological susceptibility and lack of coping-capacity indicators weighed by drought experts from around the world.
The findings of the global assessment show that drought risk of rainfed and irrigated agricultural systems displays a heterogeneous pattern at the global level, with higher risk for southeastern Europe as well as northern and southern Africa (e.g., South Africa and Zimbabwe). In fact, environmental and socioeconomic factors in South Africa's and Zimbabwe's agricultural systems have been affected by drought in the past, creating cascading pressures on the nation's agro-economic and water supply systems. To understand the key drivers of drought risk and to inform proactive drought risk management, a sub-national level drought risk assessment is also presented for both countries. This assessment pioneered national-level assessments for irrigated and rainfed systems that take into account the complex interaction between different risk components, using modelling and remote sensing approaches and involving national experts in selecting vulnerability indicators and providing information on human and natural drivers.
Recognising that global drought risk assessments have been conducted to highlight the regions or countries most at risk, and that their outcomes are deemed useful to inform adaptation finance decisions, this thesis also compares the outcomes of global and regional drought risk assessments for different clusters of countries of particular relevance to international climate and disaster risk policy. The findings highlight the importance of analysing risk at multiple spatial scales to ensure no country is "left behind" in global risk and adaptation finance decisions.
Finally, the thesis discusses a systemic perspective as a way forward to assess and manage drought risks effectively. A novel drought risk framework that highlights the systemic nature of drought risks is presented. This thesis highlights the need for solutions to tackle the growing drought risks that not only consider the underlying drivers of drought risks for different sectors, systems or regions but also require an understanding of sector/system interdependencies, feedback, dynamics, compounding and concurring hazards, as well as possible tipping points and globally and/or regionally networked risks.},

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