Date of Award


Document Type



Environmental Studies

Thesis Advisor

Andrea Parker

Thesis Advisor

Barnard Kissini




Rising temperatures and varying rainfall, as results of anthropogenic climate change, are threatening the livelihoods and food security of small-scale agro-pastoralists throughout East Africa. However, the use of conservation agriculture (CA) techniques as climate change mitigation strategies remains largely unexplored in this region. This study interviewed 101 participants using questionnaires to examine the awareness, challenges, and uses of different CA techniques in the rural village of Kilimatembo in the Karatu highlands of Tanzania. While the use of CA techniques, such as terracing (69.13%), intercropping (82.18%), and cover cropping (46.35%) is prevalent in the area, awareness of climatic changes varies greatly, and knowledge of the use of CA techniques as climate change mitigation strategies is relatively nonexistent. No correlation was found between the use of CA techniques and the respondents’ levels of climate change awareness, and, as such, it could be determined that knowledge of the use of CA techniques as climate change mitigation strategies is similarly lacking. Many respondents cited rainfall variation (67.33%) and higher temperatures (43.6%) as the most prevalent climate change impacts and 88.12% of respondents additionally noted decreasing crop yields as a major consequence of these climatic changes. CA techniques could provide necessary relief from the negative impacts of climate change; however, challenges such as cost (31.68%), labor (24.75%), and neighbor conflicts (17.82%) still prevent many farmers from implementing these strategies. Increased soil fertility (68.32%), increased crop yield (73.27%), and reduced soil erosion (80.20%) were the three benefits of CA implementation most often answered by interview respondents. A majority of farmers in Kilimatembo village stated themselves as very likely (91.09%) to continue implementing CA techniques or implement CA techniques in the future. However, the extension of educational opportunities and monetary support to local small-scale agropastoralists is needed before the use of CA can be fully realized in the region.

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Agriculture Commons