Concentrated in two remote villages in central Nepal, the project aims to conduct research on the topic of how migratory pastoral Gurung communities in Nepal perceive changes in climatic conditions, how the variation in climate has influenced their activities connected with herds management, how grazing resources have changed during the past 20 years and what adaptive measures have been taken by the herdsmen in response to the changes they have noticed.
Gurung are one of Nepal’s indigenous peoples whose main source of livelihood is transhumance grazing. Inhabiting rugged mountain terrains, they move Yak, Chauri, sheep and goat from village grasslands to high altitude meadows via the forest before the onset of the monsoon. There is an intricate interaction between monsoon, agriculture, mountain communities and the migration of herds from village to pasture and back to the villages. Transhumance pastoralism is closely associated with economy and culture, local ecological conditions, resource availability and measures of climate. Their pastoral activity is highly impacted by time of rainfall, season of agriculture in village, persistence and melting period of snow in rangelands, availability of water bodies near grazing spots. These factors which influence their pastoral activities are subject to be influenced by recent changes in climate. Lila believes these pastoral communities are influenced by changes and such communities have some kinds of strategies to cope with, and present study aims to study this.
Different methods and tools were first tested and only relevant tools were used to explore climate change impacts and adaptation measures such as: Temperature and rainfall analysis, interviews/ questionnaire survey, historical trend line analysis, foucs group meetings transect walk and plant collection, livestock population trend and GPS coordinates.
Farmers’ clearly perceived changes in climatic conditions as well as in their environment. Majority of respondents mentioned that temperature has increased, whereas rainfall and snowfall has considerably decreased and monsoon has delayed to stat.
The major changes observed are related to water sources and grasslands conditions. As a result of deleted monsoon and reduced snow cover the water spouting time might have shifted. Increased temperature also might have played role in changing soil moisture regime and evapotranspiration.
In conclusion, transhumance pastoral communities have perceived and noticed changes in climatic variables as well as environmental conditions. Such changes definitely have impacts on local livelihoods.