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Community perception, adaptation and resilience to extreme weather in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Metcalfe, Sarah E.; Schmook, Birgit; De la Barreda-Bautista, Betsabe; Endfield, Georgina; Mardero, Sofia; Manzon Che, Maria; Medina Gonzalez, Roger; Munguia Gil, Teresa; Navarro Olmedo, Santana; Perea, Alejandra; Boyd, Dorren S.

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Birgit Schmook

Georgina Endfield

Sofia Mardero

Maria Manzon Che

Roger Medina Gonzalez

Teresa Munguia Gil

Santana Navarro Olmedo

Alejandra Perea

Professor of Earth Observation


© 2020, The Author(s). Perceptions of climate change, the impacts of and responses to climatic variability and extreme weather are explored in three communities in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, in relation to livelihood resilience. These communities provide examples of the most common livelihood strategies across the region: small-scale fisheries (San Felipe) and semi-subsistence small-holder farming (Tzucacab and Calakmul). Although the perception that annual rainfall is reducing is not supported by instrumental records, changes in the timing of vital summer rainfall and an intensification of the mid-summer drought (canicula) are confirmed. The impact of both droughts and hurricanes on livelihoods and crop yields was reported across all communities, although the severity varied. Changes in traditional milpa cultivation were seen to be driven by less reliable rainfall but also by changes in Mexico’s agricultural and wider economic policies. Diversification was a common adaptation response across all communities and respondents, resulting in profound changes in livelihood strategies. Government attempts to reduce vulnerability were found to lack continuity, be hard to access and too orientated toward commercial scale producers. Population growth, higher temperatures and reduced summer rainfall will increase the pressures on communities reliant on small-scale farming and fishing, and a more nuanced understanding of both impacts and adaptations is required for improved livelihood resilience. Greater recognition of such local-scale adaptation strategies should underpin the developing Mexican National Adaptation Policy and provide a template for approaches internationally as adaptation becomes an increasingly important part of the global strategy to cope with climate change.


Metcalfe, S. E., Schmook, B., De la Barreda-Bautista, B., Endfield, G., Mardero, S., Manzon Che, M., …Boyd, D. S. (2020). Community perception, adaptation and resilience to extreme weather in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Regional Environmental Change, 20(1), Article 25.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 16, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 17, 2020
Publication Date Feb 17, 2020
Deposit Date Feb 11, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 18, 2021
Journal Regional Environmental Change
Print ISSN 1436-3798
Electronic ISSN 1436-378X
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 1
Article Number 25
Keywords Drought, Hurricane, Weather lore, Diversification
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 29 May 2019; Accepted: 16 January 2020; First Online: 17 February 2020


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