Climate scenarios and projections have suggested that the impacts of climate change on land use will be noticed particularly by the communities that depend on natural resources for their subsistence. The climate vulnerability of poor communities varies greatly, but in general, climate change combines with other threats and becomes superimposed on existing vulnerabilities. This paper presents a case study that strives to understand the social organization in a vulnerable community of Guaraciaba, in southern Brazil, to investigate aspects of an adaptation strategy to climate change based on the local development and conservation of landraces of a set of crop species. Landraces are varieties better adapted to adversities, especially drought, which is an important threat to the famers in the region. Every farmer receives annually a “kit of biodiversity”, a set of local varieties with the amount of seeds necessary to be cultivated in order to produce enough food for the family. The study had a qualitative approach and was carried out through semi-structured interviews with technicians and 30% of the rural families who farm with landraces. The study concludes that the factors that make this adaptation strategy sustainable are: the ability to undertake actions strongly based on local socio-cultural needs (a social support network), biodiversity management practices designed to reduce external economic dependence, self management of genetic resources, the establishment of priorities based on locally available resources, a work plan for community participation (field days, a community based festival), the establishment of the roles of community in the planning and implementation of programs for biodiversity management.


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