Natural Hazards

, Volume 83, Issue 2, pp 1279–1300 | Cite as

Vulnerability to prolonged cold: a case study of the Zeravshan Valley of Tajikistan

  • R. Bryson Touchstone
  • Kathleen Sherman-Morris
Original Paper


Tajikistan like other mountainous nations in Central Asia faces the dual problem of poverty and exposure to multiple natural hazards such as mass wasting, flooding, and prolonged cold. In this case study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 31 rural Tajik households in order to characterize their vulnerability and adaptation to prolonged winter cold. The household interviews were supplemented with interviews with village leaders, doctors, and school staff. Key interview themes regarding the road network were then compared with GIS road network analysis of the region. Results suggested that the area is highly vulnerable to the impacts of prolonged cold, which could ultimately be made worse through the unsustainable land-use practices, especially for agricultural and biofuel resources. The combination of unreliable sources of income and lower accessibility to markets in winter results in less ability of the residents of these rural villages to mitigate the impacts of prolonged cold. Analysis of the road network using GIS provided additional evidence for the influence of accessibility on vulnerability to prolonged cold.


Zeravshan Valley Vulnerability Prolonged cold Mixed methods GIS Sustainability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Bryson Touchstone
    • 1
  • Kathleen Sherman-Morris
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Parks and Wildlife, Western AustraliaKensingtonAustralia
  2. 2.Department of GeosciencesMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA

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