Climate change perception: an analysis of climate change and risk perceptions among farmer types of Indian Western Himalayas
Climate change and variability have created widespread risks for farmers’ food and livelihood security in the Himalayas. However, the extent of impacts experienced and perceived by farmers varies, as there is substantial diversity in the demographic, social, and economic conditions. Therefore, it is essential to understand how farmers with different resource-endowment and household characteristics perceive climatic risks. This study aims to analyze how farmer types perceive climate change processes and its impacts to gain insight into locally differentiated concerns by farming communities. The present study is based in the Uttarakhand state of Indian Western Himalayas. We examine farmer perceptions of climate change and how perceived impacts differ across farmer types. Primary household interviews with farming households (n = 241) were done in Chakrata and Bhikiyasian tehsil in Uttarakhand, India. In addition, annual and seasonal patterns of historical data of temperature (1951–2013) and precipitation (1901–2013) were analyzed to estimate trends and validate farmers’ perception. Using statistical methods farmer typology was constructed, and five unique farmer types are identified. Majority of respondents across all farmer types noticed a decrease in summer and winter precipitation and an increase in summer temperature. Whereas the perceptions of impacts of climate change diverged across farmer types, as specific farmer types exclusively experienced few impacts. Impact of climatic risks on household food security and income was significantly perceived stronger by low-resource-endowed subsistence farmers, whereas the landless farmer type exclusively felt impacts on the communities social bond. This deeper understanding of the differentiated perception of impacts has strong implications for agricultural and development policymaking, highlighting the need for providing flexible adaptation options rather than specific solutions to avoid inequalities in fulfilling the needs of the heterogeneous farming communities.
PKJ is thankful to DST-PURSE of JNU, New Delhi, for support. We would like gratefully thank to the farmers for their precious time and participation in the survey. Authors would also the Dr. Stephanie Natho for her helpful suggestions and editing the initial draft of the paper.
RS, KS, and PKJ are financially supported by the MoEFCC, GoI (R&D/NNRMS/2/2013-14). RS is supported by the Erasmus+ funding for her research in Germany. AA is financially supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (GRK 2043/1) within the “NatRiskChange” graduate research training group at the University of Potsdam.
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