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Measuring Farmers' Agro-ecological Resistance to Hurricane Mitch in Central America

Eric Holt-​Gimenez

Report/paper, 24 pages

A study using a participatory action research approach and simple field techniques found significant differences in agroecological resistance between plots on ‘conventional’ and ‘sustainable’ farms in Central America after Hurricane Mitch. On average, ‘agroecological’ plots on sustainable farms had more topsoil, higher field moisture, more vegetation, less erosion and lower economic losses after the hurricane than control plots on conventional farms. The differences in favour of these agroecological plots tended to increase with increasing levels of storm intensity, increasing slope and years under agroecological practices, though the patterns of resistance suggested complex interactions and thresholds. For some indicators agroecological resistance collapsed under extreme stress.

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