Perceptions of climate change by highland communities in the Nepal Himalaya

Uprety, Yadav and Shrestha, Uttam Babu and Rokaya, Maan Bahadur and Shrestha, Sujata and Chaudhary, Ram Prasad and Thakali, Ajaya and Cockfield, Geoff and Asselin, Hugo (2017) Perceptions of climate change by highland communities in the Nepal Himalaya. Climate and Development, 9 (7). pp. 649-661. ISSN 1756-5529


The impacts of climate change in remote communities of the Himalaya have been relatively underexplored. This study combines traditional knowledge of people from three Village Development Committees (VDCs) of three districts of the high altitudinal regions in Nepal with scientific data to document the changes in climatic patterns, natural hazards, ecological systems and agricultural practices. The respondents perceived notable changes in the local climatic conditions, the frequency of natural disasters and ecological processes. Their perception of warming over the past 15–20 years parallels the increase in mean annual temperature recorded in the Thehe VDC of the Humla district, Tukuche VDC of the Mustang district and Lelep VDC of the Taplejung district from 1973 to 2012 by 0.02°C/year, 0.04°C/year and 0.01°C/year, respectively. Most respondents perceived an increase in the frequency of floods and landslides. The recorded average frequency of natural hazards including fire, flooding, landslide and avalanche has increased significantly from 1.5 ± 0.61 incidences/year for the period 1972–1991 to 10.4 ± 2.91 incidences/year for the period 1992–2011. Increased occurrence of pests and insects was also noted. The results show that climate change has already affected local communities and they are responding by spontaneously developing adaptive livelihood strategies.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2017 00:46
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2018 04:51
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change; local communities; Himalaya; Nepal; traditional knowledge
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040104 Climate Change Processes
05 Environmental Sciences > 0599 Other Environmental Sciences > 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
Fields of Research (2020): 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370201 Climate change processes
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4199 Other environmental sciences > 419999 Other environmental sciences not elsewhere classified
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity
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