College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Studies

Faculty Mentor

Tanya Hayes, PhD

Faculty Editor

Felipe Murtinho, PhD

Student Editor

Stephen Leach


Climate change continues to destroy ecosystems, cause extreme shifts in weather patterns, and threaten the livelihood of people across the globe. Drought has become one of the most pervasive weather changes, with a particularly hard impact on low-income farmers. In order to combat the impacts of drought, farmers now must take adaptive measures, which include investing in technology, shifting planting schedules, employing different irrigation methods, and more. Social capital has been recognized as an important element in supporting livelihoods, yet it is less clear how social capital influences adaptation to climate change. This paper is a literature review, examining the role of social capital in climate change adaptation for low-income farmers. Studies include research from Africa, China, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. The review consistently finds that social capital has a positive influence on adaptation decisions; farmers with a higher degree of social capital are more likely to adopt various adaptation measures. Further, the literature highlights the importance of government intervention to support social capital in adaptation. Farmers that lacked any government intervention were found to have less adaptive capacity. Government and NGO interventions should focus on extension programs that promote social capital, support local traditions and customs in solving adaptation issues, and provide financial support.