Perceived changes in climatic variables and impacts on the transhumance system in the Himalayas

Aryal, Suman and Cockfield, Geoff and Maraseni, Tek Narayan (2016) Perceived changes in climatic variables and impacts on the transhumance system in the Himalayas. Climate and Development, 8 (5). pp. 435-446. ISSN 1756-5529


Indigenous people whose subsistence livelihoods depend upon the direct utilization of natural resources are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and can yet be unaware of actual and possible change. Changes in seasonality, temperatures and rainfall could undermine traditional systems built in group's experience. In one such system in the Himalayas, some herders practice vertical transhumance whereby they ascend in stages to high-altitude rangelands for summer and similarly descend in winter. Climate change models have predicted warming in the Himalayan region but there is no information on whether or not herders are aware of any changes. For this study, temperature and rainfall data for the nearest stations were collected and analysed, 145 transhumant herders were interviewed and 6 focus group discussions were conducted in or near 3 mountainous Protected Areas of Nepal. Perceptions of herders corresponded with the trends of climatic variables but with some exceptions. The majority of transhumant herders reported early onset of summer and rapid melting of snow, early greening, early flowering/maturing of vegetation and the appearance of new plant species in the rangelands. They also reported reduced water availability, an increase in the number of droughts and the appearance of new livestock diseases. Findings suggest that the perceptions of local people towards changes in key climatic variables and other bio-physical indicators are useful in advancing understanding of climate change in remote mountainous areas.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2017 03:29
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2017 00:31
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change, impacts, Nepal, perceptions, transhumance system
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0702 Animal Production > 070203 Animal Management
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960909 Mountain and High Country Land and Water Management
B Economic Development > 83 Animal Production and Animal Primary Products > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830399 Livestock Raising not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2015.1040718

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