Journal article

Adaptation “from below” to changes in species distribution, habitat and climate in agro-ecosystems in the Terai Plains of Nepal

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Publication Details

Author list: Thorn J

Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)

Publication year: 2019

Journal: AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment

Journal name: Ambio

Volume number: 48

Start page: 1482

End page: 1497

Total number of pages: 16

ISSN: 0044-7447

eISSN: 1654-7209



Recent land-use and climatic shifts are expected to alter species distributions, the provisioning of ecosystem services, and livelihoods of biodiversity-dependent societies living in multifunctional landscapes. However, to date, few studies have integrated social and ecological evidence to understand how humans perceive change, and adapt agro-ecological practices at the landscape scale. Mixed method fieldwork compared observed changes in plant species distribution across a climatic gradient to farmers' perceptions in biodiversity and climate change in rice-cultivated farms. In contrast to the global context, farmers in the Terai Plains of Nepal are acutely aware of high levels of change observed in the last 10 years, and incrementally adapt as new invasive species emerge (93{\%}), the incidence and severity of pest/diseases increase (66{\%}), genetic diversity of indigenous varieties erodes (65{\%}), forest habitats diminish (98{\%}), irrigation water declines (60{\%}), and wildlife ranges shift. Twenty-five changes in climate were reported by 97.5{\%} of farmers to reduce provisioning services and food self-sufficiency, and increase exposure to waterborne pathogens, heat stress, and human or livestock mortality. The study illustrates the need for financial and institutional supports at all levels to strengthen agro-ecological practices, upscale Information Communication Technology for extension services, clarify tenure agreements, and safeguard natural ecosystems to slow biodiversity loss. Existing incentives to conserve, restore, or sustainably manage ecosystems offer lessons for other societies undergoing rapid change.


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Last updated on 2020-29-04 at 13:22