Presentation at George Mason University

Natural disasters and changing climatic patterns are presenting mounting challenges for communities who need to compromise between the resources needed for their livelihood with the need to eradicate at the onset contagious diseases. To respond to the need of assessing the health risks posed by poultry production systems in remote areas, a vulnerability assessment protocol was modeled following a focus group support system developed at the Department of Geography of Penn State University.

The new proposed system by Syneren implements an on-line decision support system tool-set for deliberative risk ranking successfully tested in the case of community water system vulnerabilities. The protocol reconciles local experiences with recorded hazard scenarios and breaks down the risk ranking process into phases. By so doing, focus group coordinators with an already established relationship of trust can supplement their preliminary understanding of poultry production vulnerabilities with more nuanced knowledge of local needs.

To illustrate the advantages and range of applications of the on-line vulnerability assessment protocol, a proof-of-concept vulnerability assessment will be discussed by Syneren staff. The prototype uses data collected during a 2009 study conducted in the United States by the Food Policy Research Center at Rutgers University and accesses weather and climate data from NOAA-NCDC sources. The implications of the effects of climate change and severe weather on productions systems exposed to severe financial or productivity stressors will be examined vis-à-vis the need for transferable and verifiable vulnerability assessment that characterize poultry production systems within local environmental and cultural attributes.