Project Profiles

AFRICA : ASIA : EUROPE : LATIN AMERICA AND CARRIBEAN : PACIFIC

Cape Verde: Ethiopia: Kenya: Tanzania: Zambia: China: Indonesia: Mongolia: Myanmar: Nepal: Pakistan: Philippines: Denmark: Greece: Romania: Sweden: Bahamas: Belize and Guatemala: Peru: Trinidad and Tobago: Palau: Papua New Guinea: Solomon Islands: Tonga

AFRICA

When do the seascapes and landscapes start telling alerting stories?

Tarrafal fishermen settlement of Sao Nicolau, Cape Verde

Sao Nicolau is mountainous island with an arid climate where periods of drought are not uncommon and its people are known for being skilful fishermen and good navigators. The fishermen use traditional fishing techniques on daily basis, observe wildlife distribution patterns, are themselves very mobile and have prior knowledge on resource distribution and characteristics (both on a seascapes and landscapes level). Project proponent Jelena Ilic seeks to understand the resilience of local communities in Sao Nicolau island and how they perceive, comprehend and cope with climate changes.  In particular, study will focus on ways in which fishermen observe, interpret and react on climate changes in their local realities.

Climate change impacts and adaptations: the case of Konso community, Southern Ethiopia

Konso of southern Ethiopia

In Ethiopia’s arid and semi-arid areas, drought is part of a normal cycle and pastoral communities like Konso people in the southern region of Ethiopia, have developed strategies to cope. Their strategies cover a wide range of indigenous soil and water conservation practices including physical structures, agronomic measures and agro-forestry. Strong grassroots institutions are also part of the community’s resilience strategies, enabling the community to experiment with further new innovations. Marginalisation of these traditional or customary institutions then increases the vulnerability of the community. Yohannes GebreMedhine, an associate professor at the Addis Ababa University, seeks to understand how the community has adapted to climate variability and change, focusing on local innovation within pastoralist livelihoods and their traditional grassroots institutions.

Study of the impact of climate change on the applicability of the traditional knowledge on weather forecasting system, resource management and the survival strategies of the pastoralist Gabbra people of northern Kenya

Gabbra of northern Kenya

The Gabbra pastoralist communities inhabit the vast semi-arid region of northern Kenya and share an intricate relationship with their land and resources. They herd camels, cattle, sheep and goats over a harsh landscape that encompasses lava boulders and salt-covered deserts. Gabbra use seasons and calendar, phenology, astrology, “entrailology” (the use of animal entrails to predict the future), divining, animal behaviour to determine their course of action to detect natural calamities and thus cope with environmental challenges. Disaster preparedness depends on cycles of events that are predictable and effective response depends on re-encountering history – Argaa dageeti (things that have ever been seen and heard).  Though pastoralists have evolved effective coping mechanisms to the long historical effects of rain failures, they have observed strange phenomena that are posing new challenges. The project, proposed by the National Museums of Kenya seeks to research and document local observations of environmental change. In addition, they will conduct investigations on the how these observations affect traditional coping strategies of the Gabbra, carry out a historical analysis of traditional early warning indicators of impending drought conditions and other disasters and understand how ceremonies of the Gabbra people are impacted by changes in weather and climate.

Hunter-gatherers communities and climate change: Harnessing local observations and understanding of climate change impacts and adaptations among Hadzabe indigenous communities in Tanzania

Hadzabe of Lake Eyasi, Tanzania

The Hadzabe are hunter-gatherers who live along the shores of Lake Eyasi northern Tanzania. Their population is thought to be less than 1000 people. Project proponent Samora Andrew at the Sokoine University of Agriculture says that little is known about how Hadza are affected by and respond to climate change. The project will generate information to provide a better understanding of specific local impacts of climate change especially on hunter-gatherer communities and their adaptation strategies with an aim toward contributing to the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA).

Zambia’s Farmers Hit by Climate Change

Farmers of Central Province of Zambia

In the recent past, the farming community in the Central Province of Zambia has suffered from droughts, change in weather patterns, high temperatures, land degradation and crop failure. These have threatened food security and settlements, forcing farmers to opt for relocation to new areas in search of better conditions. Grace Nzovwa Zulu is a journalist who wishes to highlight how traditional farming communities of Central Zambia are surviving amid climate change, focusing mainly on their agricultural practices and their cultural norms. By publishing her findings in local media, she hopes to broaden national understanding on the extent of climate change impacts and how people are adapting to them.

ASIA

People’s livelihoods adapting to climate change in the Beizifu community

Beizifu community of Keerqin Sandy Land, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China

The Beizifu community, population 890, is located in the centre of Keerqin Sandy Land, a semi-arid region in Northeast China. The majority of the community is ethnically Mongolian, a minority group in China. Prolonged drought has threatened farming and grazing activities and, affected by low rainfall and increased temperatures, the local community worries about the implications of these on their livelihoods and future of their community. Working with elders, farmers and local officials in the community, Yarong Lu and her students at the School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development will document farmers’ perspectives on indicators related to climate changes and actions taken by households and the community collective to cope with adverse conditions. This knowledge will be used to facilitate a workshop that will enable the community to share their experience. Further awareness-raising will be established through the publication of a brochure and an exhibition.

Anthropology of climate change: The case of the sea nomads

Badjo of Indonesia

Badjo are sea nomads who live around the different island nations of Southeast Asia. Their communities have intimate knowledge of the sea and are highly dependent on it. While some Badjo live in their original homes, the canoe, most live in villages built on stilts in the shallow waters along the coast. As a result, they are well placed to anticipate, detect, articulate and interpret changes in the climate. The discussion will revolve around what Badjo believe are ‘signs’ of climate change, how these signs are rooted in their knowledge and values, and what their perspectives and anxieties are in relation to these changes in their world. While these include the location of fleets and villages, fishing and navigation techniques and changes in fish resources, it also includes spiritual beliefs. Francois-Robert Zaçot, a French researcher, will work with Badjo communities in Indonesia to understand key aspects of Badjo life and to investigate whether these are affected by climate changes.

Traditional knowledge for adaptation to climate change: Promoting traditional practices to respond to land degradation and desertification in Mongolia

Communities of Bulgan aimag and Uvurkhangai aimag, Mongolia

Climatic variability appears to be a major driving factor of livestock dynamics in Mongolia. The rising temperature and uncertainties in rainfall associated with global warming are likely to increase the frequency and magnitude of climate variability and extremes. Changes in climate increase the risk of unexpected changes in nature and environment. The greater the rate and magnitude of change, the greater the risk of negative impacts. In response, the nomadic herders of the Central region of Mongolia have developed their own specific knowledge and practices for adaptation to protect soil and combat pasture degradation and desertification. These include seasonal migration, long distance migration, herding of different kinds of livestock and taboos and rituals that preserve different resources. The research proposed by the International Institute for the Study of Nomadic Civilizations focuses on the Bulgan and Uvurkhangai aimags, areas of open steppe landscape and water source for the longest river in Mongolia. It seeks to understand traditional knowledge and practices in relation to land degradation, desertification and promoting sustainable livelihoods of the rural people of the Central Region of Mongolia.

Communities in Arakan: Discovering local knowledge on climate change

Communities in Arakan, Myanmar

Sagu, Ye Kyun, Rambree and Chadduba islands are situated along the Arakan coast of Myanmar. Historic islands during the British Colonization, Pyone Kwaw, project coordinator for Nyein Foundation says, ‘I used to hear stories about British warships and post war period in Arakan from my grandmother and grandfather since I was very young. Among those stories included frequent storms, earthquakes, big tidal waves, and islands disappearances in the bay.’ Long before the deadly 2008 Nargis cyclone, estimated to affect over 1.50 million people; the communities in Arakan State were in the forefront of the cyclones and storms. Through a video documentary, the project will highlight the importance of local experiences, knowledge and understanding of the impacts of climate change and adaptation. Natural hazards such as earthquakes, cyclones, foods, tsunamis and landslides occur at frequent intervals in Myanmar, and the project will contribute to an understanding of the factors and knowledge affecting the resilience of local communities.

Coping strategies against climate change among transhumance pastoral communities in Nepal Himalaya

Gurung of Gorkha District

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. The same factors that influence their pastoral activities are the same ones that are projected to be influenced by changes in climate.  Concentrated in two remote villages in central Nepal, the project proposed by Lila Nath Sharma will investigate how Gurung communities perceive changes in climatic conditions, how the variation in climate has influenced their herd management activities, how grazing resources have changed during the past 20 years and what adaptive measures have been taken by the herdsmen in response.

Documenting Bakarwal nomads’ perspectives on climate change

Bakarwal nomads in Northern Pakistan

Bakarwal nomads with their goat herds, mules and dogs travel throughout the year in search of pastures in northern parts of Pakistan. They travel approximately 1800 km on foot during their annual migrations and graze their herds in four distinct ecological zones. Traditional knowledge of the terrain and climate has been the key to survival of the entire groups and early or delayed snow season, delay in snow melting and floods along the migratory route could bring disaster to these migratory groups. The Bakarwal nomads struggle with changes in seasons and climate while trying to retain access to their traditional grazing grounds. Due to poorly defined land tenure, they have no recognized legal rights and they continue to struggle to retain their traditional nomadic way of life. The project focuses on local experiences of climate, understanding whether observations are in line with scientific projections and the impacts of these changes on traditional livelihoods of pastoralist nomads.

Leggot Tebba Maka Go’tom: The Philippine Sama Dilaut seanomads amidst climate change and hunger-spell. Community action research on the impacts of climate change and the sustainability of Sama Dilaut nomadism in Sulu archipelago

Sama Dilaut of Southern Mindanao, Republic of the Philippines

The sea-nomadic Sama Dilaut (also known as Bajau) are affected by climate change in a number of ways. Traditionally, Sama Dilaut protect and preserve sardine and other small fishes in the Sulu waters. They have adapted a fishing pattern characterised by interspersed periods of harvesting and nurturing of the marine ecosystem, sparing the younglings and fingerlings and allowing the fishes to spawn and propagate before harvesting. They have indigenous ways of propagating and replenishing the stocks of fish and marine-edibles without disrupting the balance of nature. Lately, they have observed strange behaviour in different fish species, including the abnormal influx or migration of schools of fish into areas previously not inhabited by these species. The proponents observe that negative effects of climate change favour the destructive harvesting practices of commercial vessels. Sardine species are now found in shallower waters, making it more accessible to commercial fishers. Lately this has become a source of alarm to the villagers who have been experiencing prolonged low-tide (leggot-tebba) resulting in hunger spells (go’tom) and threatening their food security. Lumah Ma Dilaut Center for Living Traditions, an indigenous organisation will conduct research with the Sama Dilaut to investigate the impacts of climate change on the food sustainability of sea nomadic Sama Dilaut community. At the same time, they will work with the community to understand options and actions needed to increase resilience and cushion the impact of climate change.

EUROPE

The Melting Arctic

Inuit of Greenland, Denmark

The Hellheim glacier, a part of the Greenland ice shelf, is calving into the Sermilik fjord. Scientists suggest that this very limited area constitutes more than 10% of the total yearly production of icebergs from Greenland. Remote sensing data indicate that due to climate change, the glacier has accelerated, resulting in an increase in the ice concentration in the Sermilik fjord.  For the last 3 years the project “The Melting Arctic” has been gathering information from local hunters, elders and youth, from Gjoahaven, Nunavut, Canada in the West to Tasilaq, Greenland in the East. These interviews aim to discover how Greenlanders perceive climate change, how they adapt and how this adaptation affects the local communities on a broader level. Under Climate Frontlines, Fotspor AS proposes to extend the Melting Arctic project to include remote villages to Semilik, seeking their observations on the alterations in the ice regime, as well as local efforts to cope with and adapt to these changes. The project will help assess how the knowledge and experiences of indigenous communities correlates with the oceanographic measurements, and what adaptation measures are required to carry out a traditional way of life.

Climate-vulnerable South-European Islands: Experiences for resilience

Rural communities of Kythera and Antikythera, Greece

South Greek islands are representative of semi-arid drought prone areas and share similar global issues with other vulnerable communities. Climate change is expected to stress water resources, agricultural productivity and tourism development. This project, sited on two Greek islands and part of the Ionian Islands, aims to illustrate how climate changes can also disproportionately impact small rural European communities. Through reports and audiovisual material Rigas Zafeiriou, project proponent, will highlight how vulnerable rural island communities in the Mediterranean perceive and react to climate change and document their experiences with adaptation, focusing on livelihood security.

The impact of climate change on the pastoral communities of the Parang and Fagaras Mountains, Romania

Pastoral communities of Parang and Fagaras Mountains, Romania

Local pastoral communities in the Southern Carpathians rely on alpine and subalpine grasslands for their livelihood. Transhumance pastoralism is still practised in the mountains of Parang and Fagaras, though it is almost extinct elsewhere in Europe. The project will investigate the perceptions of these communities with regards to changes in plant phenology and distribution, with an eye to identifying the major changes that alpine and subalpine grasslands are undergoing and the effects that these changes are having on the local pastoral communities. It will also identify past methods used by these communities to cope with various temporary climatic stresses and present potential methods to adapt to and cope with climate change.

Climate Change and Sami

Sami of Laponia World Heritage Site, Sweden

The project involves collaborative research between the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle and Sami reindeer herders who for a decade have lived with severe winters due to climate change. The deer feed primarily on lichens in the winter, which they obtain by digging through the snow. The changes in the weather create a crust of hard ice over the lichen, preventing the reindeer from eating. Sami have tried to adapt to this in a few ways, most commonly to gather the thousands of reindeer into an enclosure and feed them with livestock feed. This solution, however, has its own complications including the cost in time and money as well as the risk that the reindeer will not want to eat artificial food. The research will contribute to an understanding of the different coping strategies available, the contributive, cumulative impacts of climate change and other factors on the nomadic livelihoods of Sami reindeer herders, the impact of climate change on the forests and animal species of the North and potential solutions that different stakeholders, especially farmers, are advocating.

LATIN AMERICA AND CARRIBEAN

Shifting grounds in the ephemeral islands: Perceptions and awareness of climate change in Andros Island, the Bahamas

People of Andros Island

Pocketed with large bodies of marshland, mangroves and tidal caves, the island of Andros is home to exceptional seafarers and fishers who able to adapt to an area that is not quite solid ground or fluid sea. In particular, they use aquatic caves extensively and Sarah Wise, project proponent, observes that recent ethnographic research on people’s uses of aquatic caves over their lifetime suggests residents have observed changing climate conditions and altered resource use patterns within their lifetimes. Bahamians, especially Androsians, rely on their environment for their livelihood and security; however, emergent environmental conditions such as sea level rise, increased storm events, and coastal development continue to alter the physical geography of the island as well as the way people live their daily lives. From this project, Sarah will investigate how the people of Andros perceive the threat of climate change as well as how they incorporate changing climate conditions into their daily life while raising awareness on the issues surrounding climate change.

Local management of climate change: community experiences in the Chiquibul-Mayas Mountains Biosphere Reserve

Local community of Chiquibul-Montanas Mayas Biosphere Reserve

Straddling the border between Guatemala and Belize, the Chiquibul-Montanas Mayas Biosphere Reserve is subject to the impact of floods, hurricanes and strong winds from the Caribbean. Foundation ProPetén, a local NGO, is working to document the local knowledge and experience of the communities in the area, in order to understand how local communities cope with different natural disasters that impact the area. This knowledge contributes toward understanding how people survive different weather events and how their livelihoods and management of natural resources change in relation to these impacts.

Family and community adaptations to climate change: The case of the Andean Quelcaya pastoralist community

Andean Quelcaya community in Carabaya Province, Puno

Climate change is transforming the high Andean pastoral ecosystem in an unprecedented way. The mutual interdependence of nature and society is producing changes in the high Andean area that is mainly inhabited by pastoral societies. Ecological displacement, changes in water regimes and other, unstudied ecological processes, are some of the environmental manifestations of this transformation. Pastoral society, for its part, has redesigned their communal institutions, patterns of livestock movement and societal resources to adapt. Climate change in these higher areas is characterized by an increase in wetlands and grasslands, reduced ice and snow cover and species and ecosystem displacement. The project will investigate changes in the rules of access and control of pastures as the community’s institutions respond to climate changes. Households would also then respond through variations in the herd’s mobility patterns, leading to changes in coverage and land use. Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales (CEPES) initiates this project, which seeks to understand the interaction and feedback between nature and society. They will investigate the social relations of production and land use decisions of the Quelccaya community and the families within.

Climate change impacts: voices of the vulnerable – the fishermen’s plight

Coastal fishermen communities in Trinidad and Tobago

Research has shown that coastal lagoon fishers are experiencing increasingly violent storms that are destroying both fixed and mobile fishing gear. Research within Latin America examining the historical recollection of fish catch and distance, indicates changes that may be attributed to climate change. The research, conducted by April Baptiste, seeks to survey those communities whose livelihoods are being adversely impacted. This first phase of the project will focus on the fishing industry within Trinidad. With rising sea level, warming ocean temperatures, fishermen are expected to become marginalized in their trade. Local fishermen will add their knowledge and stories on the impacts of climate change on their trade, livelihoods and family and community lives. This project will also seek to document local adaptation strategies that have been adopted in order to reduce marginalization and vulnerability of the fishermen.  A number of coastal fishermen communities would be targeted including Erin, Cedros, Claxton Bay, Morne Diablo, Carenage, Moruga, Mayaro and Tobago.

PACIFIC

Ngaremlengui & climate change adaptation: How nature is shaping the culture of a small island community

Community of Babeldaob island, Palau

Community elders of Babeldaob island in Palau have been reporting climatic related challenges including salt intrusion in the wetland taro patches, coastal erosion, silt accumulation in the mangroves and reefs, and unpredictable weather affecting their subsistence activities and community events. Ngarcholtitech, an active community-based organization in Ngaremlengui document on video their traditional knowledge, observations, concerns and coping strategies in relation to climate change.

Video documentation on impacts of sea level rise on Krangket Island communities and economy

Community of Krangket Island, Madang Province

Krangket Island has a total population of about 3,500 inhabitants comprised of four clans. The islanders are experiencing problems with rising sea levels due to global warming. The waterfront directly exposed to the ocean currents and sea wave actions is being eroded away at a higher rate. The food gardens are not able to provide for families’ subsistence with an increase in soil saline levels, and inundation of their subsistence farm lands by the rising sea levels. The islanders’ only hope for survival will eventually be relocation to the mainland of Madang, however, identification of a suitable piece of land for relocation will be a major hurdle, considering the customary ownership of land in Papua New Guinea. It may take years to negotiate with landowners before a suitable site is identified.  The Foundation for People and Community Development will work with the Krangket Islanders to undertake video documentation of Krangket Islanders’ adaptation to oncoming threats of sea level rise, farmland inundation and sea front erosion. It will demonstrate how people on the island are coping with these changes, identify changes in the people’s daily lives as a consequence of these changes and seek their views about relocation. A disaster preparedness plan will also be produced in collaboration with representatives from all four clans.

Tuo climate change study

Tuo village of Fenualoa, Reef Islands

Tuo is the name of a village on one of the Reef Islands of the Solomon Islands. Its population of over 500 people are mainly subsistence farmers and fishermen who have observed the steady erosion of their sea front. The community of Tuo, together with Lawrence Nodua, will lead the documentation of their traditional knowledge, including their observations of weather patterns, geographic locations and changes in their shoreline and the impact of these on their livelihoods. With this information, they aim to initiate sharing of successful strategies and innovations among different stakeholders.

Impacts and adaptations to climate change - Lifuka/Ha’apai local community observations and experiences

Villages of Lifuka Island, Kingdom of Tonga

Prior to 2006, the reef that surrounds Lifuka island had always been fully exposed during low tide and provided a source of food for the community.   During low tide, women and children were out on the reef fishing everyday.  Since 2006, the reef had continuously been fully covered by sea water and no longer exposed even during low tide and the reef has been empty of fishers since 2006.   This has implications on the livelihood, environment, economy and social relationships of the local community. Utilising culturally appropriate research instruments, Nofo and Talanoa, Tiaflo Consultancy will train 9 local research assistants to work with five village communities in Lifuka. The research will include documentation of the knowledge, experiences, observations, concerns, practices, coping strategies of the villagers.