Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment in Selected Highland Areas of Benguet An Application of VAST- Agro Tool

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Marissa R. Parao Janet P. Pablo Amparo M. Wagan Jose Nestor M. Garcia Simplicio M. Medina


Benguet, a uniquely temperate vegetable growing province is saddled with many climate hazards owing to its high altitude. Vulnerability to climate change of highland vegetables and strawberry-based agro-ecosystem was assessed in selected barangays of Poblacion, Tuba, Benguet and Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet using the VAST-Agro tool. The VAST Agro-tool is a rapid participatory community-based climate change assessment instrument that uses a scoring method in evaluating exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity to climate change to determine vulnerability index. Vulnerability is the degree to which a system is susceptible to or unable to cope with adverse effects of climate change including variability and extremes. Findings showed that both communities were vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Barangay Poblacion, Tuba had high exposure and sensitivity to the effects of landslides, frost, strong winds and hail storms. Livelihood sources like farming, vegetable trading, food processing and selling in markets were also more sensitive to these hazards despite the higher adaptive capacities of the residents. On the other hand, Barangay Puguis had higher exposure to typhoons and La Niña. More frequent and longer rain periods and typhoons caused greater damage to vegetables and strawberry crops. Residents from Puguis are relatively more resilient owing to other income sources that are less climate-sensitive like store keeping and employment in government and non-government entities.

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