Seminar with Karla G. Hernandez-Aguilar and Laura Turner

Wednesday 12th January 2022 (13:00-14:00)
Please contact for the link

With Karla G. Hernandez-Aguilar, University of Nottingham, and Laura Turner, University of Nottingham.

All seminars online. Please contact for the link. Subject to change.

Part of the Geosciences Seminar Series.

A-Maize-ing knowledge: Understanding the potential of traditional agricultural systems in a changing climate in Mexico and Belize (Karla G. Hernandez-Aguilar)

Despite contributing less than 10% to total global greenhouse gas emissions, Latin America and the Caribbean region, are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Particularly in the Yucatan Peninsula, these effects have severely impacted Maya indigenous communities that still practice rainfed agriculture, such as milpa.

Milpa, is a shifting rainfed agricultural system in which maize is planted together with beans, squashes, and many other crops under a biocultural approach and managed in many ways. It is one of the oldest and most important agricultural systems in this region and has been of great interest, not only due to its vulnerability to significant climatic changes such as droughts and hurricanes, but because it has remained present in the livelihoods, culture, and local economy of Maya Culture for centuries, providing income, food security, and cultural identity.

Climate variability, its impact on milpa, and how local societies adapt to climatic disturbances in the Yucatan Peninsula has been explored by different authors, however, limited studies have compared transnational adaptation responses in similar milpa systems and the role of indigenous knowledge in this adaptation strategies. In this seminar, I will share updates on my research on the use and adaptation of knowledge (traditional and scientific/technological) within milpa systems in Maya indigenous communities in Mexico and Belize.

By drawing on data collection from multiple cases studies and surveys, I will present what aspects smallholder farmers prioritize in the face of climate change and how they use and adapt knowledge (traditional, scientific or combined) based on these priorities and on their exposure to certain environmental, socio-economic, and institutional factors, and the implications of this on current and future local adaptation strategies.

Roots in the tundra - belowground plant traits under varying environmental conditions at multiple Arctic and Alpine sites (Laura Turner)

Temperature and precipitation are changing rapidly in the Arctic, strongly affecting vegetation dynamics, yet less is known about belowground impacts, despite their importance for carbon storage and other ecosystem processes. 

Here, we investigate community-level root traits and how these vary with abiotic and biotic variables at several Arctic and sub-Arctic sites. Samples were taken at multiple sites on Disko Island, Greenland, and near Kilpisjarvi, Finland, with varying elevations, soil moisture conditions and vegetation types represented. 

I analyse key root functional traits and mycorrhizal colonisation alongside microclimate and plot-level data including species composition and aboveground plant traits. Similar methods have been employed in the Cairngorms, UK, and by collaborators at other Arctic and alpine sites, and in-growth cores installed to examine new root growth over the year.

In this talk I will discuss methodologies, present preliminary results, and outline next steps. My research integrates belowground, aboveground and remotely sensed data, aiming to improve predictions of how Arctic ecosystems will respond to environmental change.

School of Geography

Sir Clive Granger Building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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