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Societal Adaptation to Abrupt Climate Change and Monsoon Variability: Implications for Sustainable Livelihoods of Rural Communities

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Pandey, Neha
Date: 2005
Agency: Livelihoods India, submitted to Winrock International-India, New Delhi, India
Series: Livelihoods India Working Paper, no. 1
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/4320
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Global Commons
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): climate change--literature review
adaptation--literature review
livelihoods
community
water management
local participatory management
conservation
sustainability
poverty alleviation
Abstract: "Throughout the known human history during the Holocene monsoon rains had experienced abrupt change and randomly recurring droughts and floods during the past 11,000 years. Abrupt climate and monsoon oscillations, compared to gradual changes, had come as surprises that are likely to become more frequent because of the anthropogenic forcing. Although some human societies have adapted to rapid climate changes in the past, but there are also examples of civilization-collapse under the persistent influence of climate change. Whereas historical adaptations to climate change are widely recognized, adaptations by the contemporary society living in regions with fluctuating climate are not. For example, over thousands of years, local people evolved a diversity of vegetation management regimes combined with traditional water management systems as an adaptation to monsoon variability that continue to support livelihoods globally, particularly in tropical Asia, South America and Africa. This is an exploration of literature on monsoon climate variability and consequent adaptations as well as implications of such adaptive systems for sustainable livelihoods. Learning from the adaptive strategies employed by contemporary rural societies in regions that experience rapid climate oscillations might be helpful in designing the appropriate policies and programmes for adaptation to climate change, conservation of biodiversity in agroecosystems, as well as reduction of vulnerability and poverty and enhancement of sustainable livelihoods."

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