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Change and Adaptation in Socio-Ecological Systems

Climate Change, Social Changes, Technological Development

Ed. by Fürst, Christine / Geneletti, Davide

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Climate Change and Rural Out-migration in Himalaya

Prakash C. Tiwari
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Geography, Kumaon University, Nainital 263002, Uttarkhand, India
/ Bhagwati Joshi
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Geography, Government Post Graduate College, Rudrapur, Uttarakhand, India
Published Online: 2015-10-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cass-2015-0002

Abstract

This paper examines linkages between climate change and rural out-migration in Himalaya. Subsistence agriculture constitutes the main source of food and rural livelihoods in the region although the availability of arable land is severely limited and crop productivity is low. The constraints of the subsistence economy compel a large proportion of the adult male population to outmigrate from the mountain region in search of livelihoods and employment. Changing climatic conditions have stressed Himalayan agricultural and livelihood systems through higher mean annual temperatures and melting of glaciers and snow, altered precipitation patterns and hydrological disruptions, and more frequent and severe extreme weather events. The amount of rainfall events and number of rainy days has declined respectively by 52% and 34% during the last ten years and the incidence of high intensity rainfall and droughts have increased. These changes have disrupted the hydrological systems and reduced the availability of water resulting in frequent crop failures, declines in irrigation potential (25%), decreased agricultural productivity (26%), and loss of rural livelihoods (34%) in traditional rural sectors. These pressures have contributed to increasing trends of rural out-migration, specifically an overall increase of 2536% between 2001 and 2013. The increasing trend of outmigration among male youth has affected the quality of life of rural women through feminization of mountain agriculture and resource development processes.

Keywords : Rainfall variability; extreme weather events; decline in agricultural productivity; loss of rural livelihoods; feminization of agriculture; climate change

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About the article

Received: 2014-11-10

Accepted: 2015-03-30

Published Online: 2015-10-09



Citation Information: Change and Adaptation in Socio-Ecological Systems, ISSN (Online) 2300-3669, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cass-2015-0002. Export Citation

© 2015 Prakash C. Tiwari, Bhagwati Joshi. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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