Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/99095
Type: Theses
Title: Human ecological implications of climate change in the Himalaya: investigating opportunities for adaptation in the Kaligandaki Basin, Nepal
Author: Pandey, Rishikesh
Issue Date: 2016
School/Discipline: School of Social Sciences
Abstract: Climate change and associated impacts are pressing issues for the twenty-first century. The climatic impacts and associated adaptation responses are altering complex interrelationships between people and the environment. Although the problems generated by such change are global, the intensity of impacts varies spatially. This research examines the implications of climate change on the local social-ecological systems of the Kaligandaki Basin, Nepal; it maps the adaptation efforts of communities; and assesses food and livelihood (in) security and vulnerability of the social-ecosystems to inform adaptation policy and practice. The study applies a geographical approach to explain human-environmental interrelationships by drawing from both social and natural scientific methodologies inherent to the discipline. The concepts of human ecology and social-ecology, climatic and environmental change, vulnerability and adaptation, are explored and applied in the research. The Sustainable Livelihood Approach (SLA) is integrated with the Drivers-Pressure-State of Change-Impacts-Response (DPSIR) analysis framework to explain the complex local human-environmental interactions with climate change. Case studies are drawn from three different ecological zones: the Tarai, the Middle-Mountains and the Trans-Himalaya to inform a comparative analysis in the Kaligandaki Basin. Climate change in the Kaligandaki Basin is assessed by analysing both meteorological data for the past 40 years and social perceptions of change in the last decade. Primary data on impacts and adaptation responses were collected through face-to-face interviews with household heads from 360 households, 24 focus group discussions, 7 historical timeline calendars, 75 key informant interviews, and 9 crop calendar sketches. The findings suggest that the social-ecological systems of the Himalaya are highly sensitive to both climatic and non-climatic stressors. Climate sensitive livelihood capitals are increasingly exposed to climate change, as both scientific and social analyses indicate increased temperatures and more extreme weather events. The changes and variability in the climate system have negatively impacted all social-ecological systems, particularly in the Middle-Mountains. Consequently, many local communities are trapped in a situation of multiple livelihood constraints associated with ecological, economic, social and political environments. To respond to those constraints and reduce the negative implications of change, people are trying to adopt adaptation strategies, mostly at the individual household or community levels. The studied communities demonstrate significant adaptation knowledge; however, such knowledge is not sufficiently translated into adaptation actions. Many households are losing hope of agricultural adaptation due to climate change impacts and unfavourable political-economic environments. Cash income is now the preferred option for many, and young adults are leaving communities and the country in search of paid employment. The poor quality of livelihood capitals; increasing climate change impacts; and poor adoption of adaptation strategies together have significant negative implications for local food and livelihood security. The research has important implications for policy that aims to integrate disaster management, agricultural development, livelihood diversification, and community empowerment in relation to climate change adaptation in Nepal. The research supports theoretical discussions on the value of undertaking complex social-ecological analyses to generate knowledge that is both holistic and directly applicable for local adaptation planning and practice. By applying similar approaches in other contexts, especially in the developing world, the issues inhibiting broader development processes could be integrated with an understanding of climate change impacts for targeted, comprehensive adaptation policy outcomes.
Advisor: Bardsley, Douglas Kenneth
Rudd, Dianne M.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2016.
Keywords: human ecology
climate change
implications
adaptation
livelihoods
food security
social-ecology
vulnerability analysis
Kaligandaki Basin
Himalaya
Nepal
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/legals
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