Cuba, Puerto Rico, and climate change: shared challenges in agriculture, forestry, and opportunities for collaboration.
Cuba and Puerto Rico have much in common and have been referred to in a poem by Lola Rodríguez de Tío as “…son de un pájaro las dos alas” (two wings of one bird). Throughout their histories, they have faced similar challenges in maintaining food security and ecosystem health. Global climate change now threatens both islands with parallel challenges to their similar cropping systems, forests, and producer demographics. Rising temperatures and resultant shifts in climate patterns have led to an increased occurrence of drought, punctuated by tropical storms and hurricanes of increasing intensity. Both Puerto Rico and Cuba have historically found innovative ways to harness the ingenuity and resilience of their people. Building new partnerships and frameworks for technology transfer, knowledge sharing, and innovation across the Caribbean islands has the potential to enhance adaptive capacity, food security, and ecosystem services, and to ensure that the islands are prepared for climatic changes in coming decades. This report provides a brief historical overview of the agricultural and forestry sectors in Cuba, outlines regional climate projections and their expected effects on working lands in both Cuba and Puerto Rico, and broadly assesses adaptive capacity and vulnerability, making suggestions for building adaptive and resilient working lands systems.