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Library The scientific basis of climate-smart agriculture: A systematic review protocol

The scientific basis of climate-smart agriculture: A systematic review protocol

The scientific basis of climate-smart agriculture: A systematic review protocol

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Date of publication
February 2016
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Background: ‘Climate-smart agriculture’ (CSA)—agriculture and food systems that

sustainably increase food production, improve resilience (or adaptive capacity) of farming

systems, and mitigate climate change when possible—has quickly been integrated into the

global development agenda. However, the empirical evidence base for CSA has not been

assembled, complicating the transition from CSA concept to concrete actions, and

contributing to ideological disagreement among development practitioners. Thus, there is an

urgent need to evaluate current knowledge on the effectiveness of CSA to achieve its intended

benefits and inform discourse on food, agriculture, and climate change. This systematic

review intends to establish the scientific evidence base of CSA practices to inform the next

steps in development of agricultural programming and policy. We will evaluate the impact of

73 promising farm-level management practices across five categories (agronomy,

agroforestry, livestock, postharvest management, and energy systems) to assess their

contributions to the three CSA pillars: (1) agronomic and economic productivity, (2)

resilience and adaptive capacity, and (3) climate change mitigation in the developing world.

The resulting data will be compiled into a searchable Web-based database and analytical

engine that can be used to assess the relative effectiveness and strength of evidence for CSA,

as well as identify best-fit practices for specific farming and development contexts. This

represents the largest meta-analysis of agricultural practices to date.

Methods/Design: This protocol sets out the approach for investigating the question: How do

farm-level CSA management practices and technologies affect food production and/or

farmers’ incomes, resilience/adaptive capacity, and climate change mitigation in farming

systems of developing countries? The objective of this ongoing systematic review is to

provide a first appraisal of the evidence for CSA practices in order to inform subsequent

programming. The review is based on data found in English-language peer-reviewed journals

with searches using terms relevant to CSA practices and CSA outcomes. Searches were

conducted via Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus. Articles located were screened first by

abstract and then full text according to predefined eligibility criteria for inclusion in the

review. Data capturing the context of the study (e.g., geographic location, environmental

context), management practices, and impacts (e.g., indicators of CSA outcomes) will be

compiled from those studies that meet the predetermined criteria. Statistical relationships

between practices and impacts will be evaluated via meta-analytical approaches including

response ratios and effect sizes. Mechanisms to identify bias and maintain consistency

continue to be applied throughout the review process. These analyses will be complemented

with an analysis of determinants of/barriers to adoption of promising CSA practices covered

in the meta-analysis. Results of the review will be incorporated into a publicly available Web-based

database. Data will be publicly available under Creative Commons License in 2016.

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Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s)

Rosenstock, Todd S.
Lamanna C
Bell P
Arslan A
Chesterman, Sabrina
Akinleye AO
Champalle, Clara
Cheng Z
Dohn J
English W
Eyrich AS
Kerr A
Madalinska A
McFatridge S
Morris KS
Namoi N
Poultouchidou N
Ravina da Silva M
Rayess S
Ström H
Tully KL
Zhou W
Lizarazo, Miguel
Richards, Meryl
Rioux, J.
Corner-Dolloff, Caitlin
Girvetz, Evan H.

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