People’s local knowledge of climate change in the Middle-Hills of Nepal

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Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

In the Pokhare Khola watershed of Dhading district in the Middle-Hills of Nepal, almost all farmers perceived that summers are becoming hotter and longer while 81% of interviewed farmers responded that winters are becoming warmer and shorter. During the period of 1978 - 2008, the overall temperature has risen about 0.20C. Summer temperatures have fluctuated, but mean winter temperature has generally increased over this time. Meteorological data corroborates the farmers’ perceptions. Annual and monsoon season rainfall was highly variable over the last 30 years, with the lowest mean monsoon rainfall (212 mm) in 1990 and the highest (646 mm) in 1999. Farmers observed that duration of the rainy season has decreased from four to two months. The reduction in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production due to shorter winters and insufficient post-monsoon rain was evident. Changes in annual rainfall pattern and resulting water shortages also lowered the millet [Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.] production. The appearance of advancing phenological development in trees (flowering 10 - 25 days earlier), and earlier ripening of some crops were often cited as impacts of change in climate. Household survey and interview, group discussions, participatory rural appraisal (PRA) tools, viz. trend analysis, and problem ranking were conducted to gather the observations and experiences on climate change perceived by local people. Moreover, local meteorological data was analyzed to see the trend of changes in rainfall and temperature.

Tarit Kumar Baul, KM Atique Ullah, Krishana Raj Tiwari and Morag A McDonald