Indigenous knowledge for climate change induced flood adaptation in Nepal

Devkota, Rohini Prasad and Maraseni, Tek Narayan and Cockfield, Geoff and Devkota, Laxmi Prasad (2013) Indigenous knowledge for climate change induced flood adaptation in Nepal. International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, 5 (1). pp. 35-46.


Floods are becoming increasingly common in Nepal resulting in a huge loss of life and damage to settlements, agriculture lands and infrastructures in various parts of the country. Most recent research findings suggest that climate change has accelerated the intensity and frequency of flood hazards in most parts of the country. Communities are however, making use of options that increase their preparedness for these flood hazards. This paper intends to assess the indigenous knowledge on flood forecasting and flood adaptation strategies at the community level in two districts of Western Terai of Nepal. Two focus group discussion and a total number of 240 households were interviewed during field visit. The collected information was scaled from least preferred- 1 to most preferred-5 based on their preferences. The research findings indicate that there are some very effective local flood forecasting practices such as identifying the position of clouds; monitoring the extent of rainfall in upper catchments; analyzing the mobility of ants; analyzing the magnitude of thunderstorms and wind blows; analyzing the magnitude of hotness; and hearing strange sounds from river/torrents. Synthesis and analysis of these indicators help communities prepare for potential flood events, through (1) preparation of search and rescue related materials; (2) creation of small drainage structures in each plot of land and storage of the valuable material; and (3) the psychologically preparation for floods. This paper argues that these indigenous flood forecasting and adaptation strategies could be particularly useful for migrants, who are in flood prone areas but are not familiar with those practices, in other parts of the country.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 23699
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Common Ground, Rohini Devkota, et al. Published online 4 Jun 2013. Apart from fair dealing for the purposes of study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the applicable copyright legislation, no part of this work may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the publisher. For permissions and other inquiries, please contact <>.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - No Department (1 Jan 2011 - 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - No Department (1 Jan 2011 - 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2013 05:45
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2014 04:17
Uncontrolled Keywords: indigenous knowledge; climate change; flood forecasting; flood adaptation; community practices
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040104 Climate Change Processes
04 Earth Sciences > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040604 Natural Hazards
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Fields of Research (2020): 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370201 Climate change processes
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3709 Physical geography and environmental geoscience > 370903 Natural hazards
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only