July 13, 2020
The high plateaus of eastern Morocco are already suffering from the adverse impacts of climate change (CC), as the local populations’ livelihoods depend mainly on extensive sheep farming and therefore on natural resources. This research identifies breeders’ perceptions about CC, examines whether they correspond to the recorded climate data and analyses endogenous adaptation practices taking into account the agroecological characteristics of the studied sites and the difference between breeders’ categories based on the size of owned sheep herd. Data on perceptions and adaptation were analyzed using the Chi-square independence and Kruskal-Wallis tests. Climate data were investigated through Mann-Kendall, Pettitt and Buishand tests. Herders’ perceptions are in line with the climate analysis in term of nature and direction of observed climate variations (downward trend in rainfall and upward in temperature). In addition, there is a significant difference in the adoption frequency of adaptive strategies between the studied agroecological sub-zones (χ 2 = 14.525, p <.05) due to their contrasting biophysical and socioeconomic conditions, as well as among breeders’ categories (χ 2 = 10.568, p < .05) which attributed mainly to the size of sheep flock. Policy options aimed to enhance local-level adaptation should formulate site-specific adaptation programs and prioritise the small-scale herders.