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Adaptation Pathways for Responding to Increasing Drought Conditions on PEI

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Stephanie Arnold will discuss her work on Adaptation Pathways for Responding to Increasing Drought Conditions on PEI under Climate Change

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The agricultural sector will face increasing demand for food resources along with mounting pressures from increasingly severe climate change impacts. As climate change continues at an accelerating rate, pressure on current agricultural systems (e.g., heat stress, water stress, pest pressures) will intensify unlike ever before. Cropping systems will need to continually adjust to new climate normals, requiring ongoing adaptation efforts. Climate change adaptation actions in the sector have mainly led to reactive, incremental actions that are generally catalyzed by extreme weather events. Uncertainties in the timing and severity of impacts; limitations in adaptive capacity; concerns over choosing a fixed path that leads to over-or under-adaptation; and fears of maladaptation (i.e., increasing the system’s vulnerability and/or creating adverse side effects) have prevented fundamental, systemic shifts required to build resilience in agricultural systems. Adaptation pathways sequence sets of possible actions based on external changes over time and use observable indicators to trigger advancement along a pathway or prompt a transfer to another pathway. Already utilized in the infrastructure sector, they provide a proactive, dynamic, and flexible approach for agriculture systems to build food security under a changing climate.


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Stephanie was recently named one of Top 25 Women in International Security (WIIS)-Canada Emerging Thought Leader for her research on adaptation pathways within the agricultural sector; is the lead author of the Prince Edward Island Climate Change Adaptation Recommendations Report; and Co-editor of the book Global Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities.

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