Perceived Impacts of Climate Change on Forests and Livelihoods in the Padampokhari Village on the Parsa Wildlife Reserve Buffer Zone, Nepal
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Livelihoods in rural communities in Nepal depend on the condition of local natural resources. Rural communities are especially vulnerable to climate change because of their ecological fragility and economic marginality, which in turn limit their adaptive capacity. There is a pressing need to understand the impacts of climate change and adaptation practices to sustain these communities. I interviewed a wide range of members and representatives in nine different communities with the goal of exploring the most beneficial adaptive strategies to sustain their livelihoods. I prepared a calendar of seasonal and community practices from discussions within nine focus groups and interviews of five key informants within each community. The findings indicate that most of the people in these communities do not understand climate change, but they have personally experienced changes in temperature, rainfall, available water sources, and the condition of agricultural and forest resources. These observations are consistent with documented increases in temperature and fluctuations in rainfall collected by Nepal's Department of Hydrology and Meteorology. Community members attributed those observed changes mainly to non-climatic causes such as emissions from a cement factory and acts of God. Changes in climate conditions have adversely affected their livelihoods by negatively impacting agriculture, water sources, forest resources and people's health. Local communities have started to adapt in their own ways, such as through the use of drought resistant crops, the diversification of occupations, and out-migration. This thesis concludes that the local awareness of changes in climate and the local initiation of adaptive measures demonstrate the receptivity by rural communities of more systematic efforts by the government of Nepal and non-governmental organizations to address climate change.
- Forestry