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Climate change, Agrobiodiversity and livelihoods in Indian Himalaya Himalaya: biodiversity hotspot and global environmental significance Climate change:

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Presentation on theme: "Climate change, Agrobiodiversity and livelihoods in Indian Himalaya Himalaya: biodiversity hotspot and global environmental significance Climate change:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Climate change, Agrobiodiversity and livelihoods in Indian Himalaya Himalaya: biodiversity hotspot and global environmental significance Climate change: scientific and farmers worldviews Strengths, weaknesses and scope of building on indigenous agricultural systems


3 Agricultural systems: the diversity


5 Policy changes over time 1894 – Forest Policy: serve the agricultural interests more directly than at present 1952: The solution to food problem primarily by intensive cultivation and not by weakening the very basis of national existence by encroaching upon forests 1988: Discourage diversion of productive agricultural lands to forestry in view of the need for increased food production 1992: National Policy Statement on Environment and Development 2003-2006: Biodiversity conservation and climate change: Biodiversity Action Plan, Biodiversity Act, National Communication to UNFCC 2008- Tribal (Forest Rights) Bill, Biodiversity Management at Village Level, Decentralization of Authority, Climate change action plan

6 Climate change trends: scientific worldview Global warming : 1.0 to 7.5 deg C India: 0.4 to 2 deg C per 100 years; increase in max temp Contrasting trends from different models in Greater Trans Himalaya Warming based on models and long term climate data analysis – no warming from dendrochronology -6-8% in rainfall in north-east and +10-12% in west +2 deg C and +7% precipitation: the best guess Sporadic extreme events ??? Uncertainty/low precison of predictions/complexity of climate change; urgent global corrective strategies and policies

7 Climate change trends: farmers worldview Feel warming but fail to quantify rates: decline in area and duration of snow Good climate: low rainfall in March-May, peak monsoon in July-August, moderate rainfall/heavy snowfall in December-January, absence of cloud bursts, with uncertainty/unpredictability of the date of onset of monsoon and high rainfall events, drought/flood years – changes in the trend High elevation villages more prone to abnormally high precipitation, mid elevation villages to low precipitation and foot hill villages to both types of events Bad climate in both cropping seasons in a year very rare Living with uncertainty: autonomous rather planned adaptations

8 Associated (natural ecosystems) and planned biodiversity (crops) Protection of agricultural land and dwellings from run-off and wildlife Recharge of springs (drinking water) and streams (irrigation water) Availability of livestock feed and FYM Availability of NTFPs crucial for livelihood Cultural values


10 Spatio-temporal variation in climate North-eastern India: 2007 flood year and 2008 drought year Central Himalaya: 2007 - low rainfall in monsoon crop season and high rainfall in winter season; 2008 – high rainfall in monsoon crop season and low rainfall in winter crop seaon

11 SOC: higher in drought year: 4 % in KDC, 10-15% in NOR, LEI, SAN, TOL, MAN, 16- 18% in DRU, KHU



14 Crop diversity by stress tolerance and economic value Economic valueStress tolerance Maize, soybean, wheat, common cash crops HighLow Fingermillet, Barnyard millet, Barley LowHigh Horsegram and Sesame High

15 Managing the risks: village landscape scale Uncertainty of rainfall Cultivating distant fields HomegardenNegligible Rainfed crop system High Rainfed agroforestry system HighLow Irrigated crop system LowHigh Shifting agricultureLow

16 Farmers observations about global warming induced changes Feasibility of potato and cauliflower cultivation in higher elevations Emergence of defoliators of Amaranths in higher elevations Early flowering and maturity of winter crops Decline in apple/other temperate fruit yields Early flowering of Rhododendron arboreum Early fruit ripening in Prunus cerasoides Increase in dominance of Bauhinia vahlii twining around Pinus roxburghii Wild species not as much sensitive to climatic variability as domesticated species

17 Changes in agrobiodiversity and management practices: socio-economic driving factors and implications

18 CropSoil loss (kg ha -1 ) Run-off (m 3 ha -1 ) Amaranth Barnyard millet Fingermillet Paddy Potato 4250 2872 2300 3279 18080 798 324 301 491 1371 Least significant difference (P = 0.05) 2320261 Soil loss and run-off (n = 5 plots) from rainy season crops grown in Pranmati watershed, central Himalaya, India.

19 Homegardens are richer in SOC (+) compared to forests Basal area of well management agroforestry systems comparable to forests

20 Yield of winter season crops grown under unlopped and 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% lopping of agroforestry trees in village Banswara, India. LSD (P=0.05) between means of a crop grown under different lopping regimes are given as vertical lines.



23 A high degree of variability – by season, within and between site – differences in belowground community not as marked as in the aboveground community Pre-monsoonMonsoon Post-monsoonAnnual average

24 New crops – Medicinal Species Growth of Aconitum spp not limited by low CO2- low temperature conditions Warming stimulated growth of Allium stracheyi, Arnebia benthamii and Dactylorrhiza hatagirea and depressed growth of Angelica glauca and Rheum emodi, the coexisting alpine species Upward movements of vegetation belts: temperature pull, earth surface processes, edaphic controls and species attributes

25 Socio-cultural capital favoring sustainability Community pressure for proper management of agricultural land with local labour, village level food self- sufficiency and exchange of seeds without any monetary consideration Catastrophes if livelihood based on timber trade Income from non-timber forest products permissible only to weaker sections but subsistence uses to all Limits to forest resource utilization and access to groups of families and not individuals Sacred forests around hill tops and streams Accommodating people suffering from natural hazards and disasters

26 Identify changes and trace their driving factors (climate change)

27 For sustainability through cooperation and collaboration Consistent and unambiguous definitions for effective communication, comparisons and synthesis Unifying, standard and globally agreed methodology Critical and threshold values

28 Policy KnowledgeBehaviour Capacity building

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