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Developing an Agroforestry Dashboard for the Marshall Islands

"Vegetative Guide & Dashboard" Relating Traditional Atoll Agroforestry Recommendations to Predicted Climate and Sea Level Conditions in the Marshall Islands


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Agriculture and agroforestry (tree cultivation) are important activities for the Marshall Islands and other small islands to ensure food security and human health. The Marshallese have a long tradition of interplanting food-producing trees such as coconuts, breadfruit, and pandanus with bananas and root and vegetable crops. Locally grown food crops support community self-sufficiency, promote good nutrition, and can also serve as windbreaks and stabilize shorelines to lessen storm damage and erosion. However, climate change is posing serious challenges for growers, as they struggle to adapt to climate impacts including saltwater intrusion, changing precipitation and temperature patterns, and the spread of invasive species. The goal [...]

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“The Marshall Islands - Credit: Sarah Nash”
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“The Marshall Islands - Credit: Sarah Nash”
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“Photo release Sarah Nash”
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“The Marshall Islands - Credit: Sarah Nash”
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Agriculture and agroforestry are important activities for small islands to ensure food security and human health. Increasing production of locally-grown food crops helps increase self-sufficiency and address nutritional problems that lead to high rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease caused in part by over dependence on imported food. Planting can also be used as one tool to stabilize vulnerable shorelines impacted by erosion and sea-level rise. Climate change impacts such as seawater intrusion, changes in precipitation, sea-level rise, increasing air temperature and invasive species are making agriculture more difficult for island inhabitants to conduct. The unpredictability of environmental changes is particularly worrisome for agriculture producers as they can no longer necessarily follow traditional planting schedules or determine which species/cultivars are best to produce for a given situation. A first step towards addressing the vulnerability of agriculture and agroforestry is to provide information in accessible, real time data products. Hence a “dashboard” will be developed that will provide a variety of relevant data sources to users, particularly extension agents, government personnel and educators that support the agriculture and forestry sectors. Some agricultural practitioners will also be able to use the dashboard if they have internet access and some level of education. Additionally, we will move beyond the dashboard concept to provide web-based access to critical information such as environmental tolerances of various crops, agricultural practices, modern and traditional uses for individual crops, nutritional values and other information that may be useful. Hard copies of key data products will be produced for users that cannot access the internet site, and some will be translated to Marshallese. The research team will work closely with stakeholders in the Marshall Islands and other Pacific Islands to ensure that the data provided is relevant, accessible and complete. The expected outcome is that Pacific Island users will have improved access to information that will enhance their ability to support and engage in agriculture and forestry activities to improve food security and overall community resilience to climate change impacts.

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typeFY 14 Grant

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The Marshall Islands - Credit: Sarah Nash
The Marshall Islands - Credit: Sarah Nash


Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS


  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers
  • Pacific Islands CASC

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