During his time in north western Ethiopia, Dr. Steven Prager from the University of Wyoming observed the complex relationship between upstream and downstream farmers in Fogera region. His results, he said, were unexpected.
It turns out that some farmers with multiple farm plots have their plots in both the upstream and downstream areas of the river basin. This means that upstream and downstream relationships are much more complex than just household location.
Dr. Prager is assessing how farm plot location influences decision making in the river basin and the resilience of the agricultural ecosystems to changes in land management.
Dr. Prager spoke with Agriculture and Ecosystems Blog Editor Abby Waldorf about his work in this region of Ethiopia. He started out answering the question he said was toughest to answer:
How do you define resilience?
The policy implications of these potential finding could be huge. Designers and implementors of incentive structures for upstream and downstream users can use this information to tailor and target interventions at farmers who are less resilient to shocks and changes in the system.