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CR 74:109-120 (2017)  -  DOI:

Contextual analysis of dynamic drought perception among small farmers in Jamaica

Douglas W. Gamble1,*, Dorlan Burrell2, Jeff Popke3, Scott Curtis

1Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, UNC Wilmington, Wilmington, NC 28405, USA
2Land Administration and Management Division, Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Kingston 5, Jamaica
3Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this research is to identify the environmental variables, seasonal patterns, and geographical characteristics that correlate with the positive identification of drought by farmers in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. To do so, we collected agrometeorological data on 15 farms and tracked the farm operators’ perception of drought over a 2 yr period. Generally, low rain, low soil moisture, and high winds are most directly associated with perceived drought, and these core physical parameters lead drought perception by a short-term, 2 wk window. Drought is also more frequently identified at lower elevations. Seasonally, drought is perceived more than twice as often as non-drought during winter (December, January, February), spring (March, April, May), and summer (June, July, August), whereas non-drought conditions are perceived close to twice as often as drought conditions in fall (September, October, November). If the current season is drier than the same season 1 yr prior, it is more likely to be perceived as a drought. These findings suggest that mitigation planning should be sensitive to variable topography and microclimates within the Caribbean, and the ways in which these variations can impact perception of drought. Further, year-to-year meteorological variability may be a key factor in farmer perception of drought, and thus any monitoring or forecasting efforts that attempt to link current to previous years’ moisture conditions may be well received by farmers.

KEY WORDS: Climate change · Natural hazards · Agriculture · Caribbean

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Cite this article as: Gamble DW, Burrell D, Popke J, Curtis S (2017) Contextual analysis of dynamic drought perception among small farmers in Jamaica. Clim Res 74:109-120.

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