Quantification of biophysical adaptation benefits from Climate-Smart Agriculture using a Bayesian Belief Network

Patrick J de Nijs, Nicholas J Berry, Geoff J Wells, David Reay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The need for smallholder farmers to adapt their practices to a changing climate is well recognised, particularly in Africa. The cost of adapting to climate change in Africa is estimated to be $20 to $30 billion per year, but the total amount pledged to finance adaptation falls significantly short of this requirement. The difficulty of assessing and monitoring when adaptation is achieved is one of the key barriers to the disbursement of performance-based adaptation finance. To demonstrate the potential of Bayesian Belief Networks for describing the impacts of specific activities on climate change resilience, we developed a simple model that incorporates climate projections, local environmental data, information from peer-reviewed literature and expert opinion to account for the adaptation benefits derived from Climate-Smart Agriculture activities in Malawi. This novel approach allows assessment of vulnerability to climate change under different land use activities and can be used to identify appropriate adaptation strategies and to quantify biophysical adaptation benefits from activities that are implemented. We suggest that multiple-indicator Bayesian Belief Network approaches can provide insights into adaptation planning for a wide range of applications and, if further explored, could be part of a set of important catalysts for the expansion of adaptation finance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6682
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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