Paola Rivera-González MS in Geology Final Defense

On April 5, 2023, Paola Rivera-González successfully defended her Geology Master of Science degree.

Title: Climate Changes in El Salvador: Impacts of ‘La Canícula’ (“Dog Days of Summer”) on Agricultural Practices and Decision-Making in Rural Communities

Abstract: The Central American Dry Corridor (CADC), a tropical dry forest region, is characterized by distinct rainy and dry seasons that influence the local agricultural calendar and decision-making in rural communities. ‘La canícula’ is a period of decreased precipitation during the rainy season, which typically occurs in July during the corn growing season in El Salvador. The ‘canícula’ is expected to change in intensity and duration in the next decades, which would impact small-scale farmers and their livelihoods. Climate variability and uncertainty has led to crop loss, water scarcity, and food insecurity in rural communities dependent on subsistence farming. Farmers’ experiences with a changing climate led to reformed decision-making and agricultural processes (eg. agricultural calendar, seed type usage, crop rotation) to optimize their harvest and adapt to a variable climate. Studying the local perceptions and adaptation practices of farmers showed how natural hazards related to global climate change impact society, community dynamics in how farmers identify their main challenges, and revealed the ways farmers improve resilience to a changing climate.

Advised by Luke Bowman with committee members Kari Henquinet, John Gierke

Paola Laguna Algeria