How does climate change affect agriculture and forestry in the Caribbean?
Scarcity of water for irrigation. Drought decreases the environmental carrying capacity and productivity of the soil. Sea level rise can cause the salinization of aquifers and loss of agricultural lands on the coast.
Increased incidence of pests. Changes in temperature and humidity increase the vulnerability of agrosystems to pests & introduced species.
Food insecurity. Changes in rainfall patterns and temperatures affect the timing of agricultural production and crop yields, affecting food prices and availability.
Low livestock productivity. Drought, heat stress, and dry pastures reduce the availability of feed, which increases animal mortality and increases the cost of production by increased use of concentrate feed.
Social vulnerability. Populations and prime agricultural lands are located in coastal areas, vulnerable to sea level rise. Only 16% of farms have crop insurance coverage and 68% of farms have a net household income of less than $20,000 making the vulnerability to climate change among Puerto Rico’s farmers very high.