This PhD project aims to explore the use of knowledge of local micro-environments, traditional planting strategies and different maize types by small scale farmers in the Yucatan peninsula to minimise risk to yields in the face of an increasingly variable climate. Their use of traditional maize varieties will be a particular focus and the relative advantages/disadvantages of using these compared with standard varieties (primarily those provided by government support schemes) assessed.
The PhD will combine the use of participant observation (to learn about farmer’s perceptions of the spatial and temporal variability of their environment and current cultivation strategies), with the collection of environmental data at field to small holding scale. These data would include the measurement of physical and chemical soil properties and microclimate parameters. The influence of socio-economic factors (market prices, subsidies and other support schemes) will also have to be assessed.
This PhD will be based in the School of Geography. For further details, please contact Prof. Sarah Metcalfe: [email protected]