Supporting and Mainstreaming Transhumance-agropastoralism in Policy and Development: an Option for Climate Change Adaptation
Mr. Lila Nath Sharma, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
Transhumance-agropastoralism, an age-old and traditional mode of subsistence livelihood, is practiced by many farming communities in mountains of Nepal. This indigenous system, consists of sedentary agriculture and vertical migration of herds between villages and high altitude summer pastures, is strategy to combat resource scarcity and climatic harshness. Present study was conducted to document the indigenous innovations and skills of herding communities to cope and adapt against the local impacts of recent global climate change, and it is based on herders interview, participatory observation, key informant discussion and transect observation of two herding communities in central Nepal. It is found that late onset of monsoon, increased drought period; decreased snow cover in mountains has affected agriculture as well as summer pastures. Vegetation changes in pastures- woody shrub and unpalatable species encroachment, reduced graminoid coverage and thicketization- late spouting of natural water springs and reduced water availability are main challenges brought about by climate as well as land use change has exacerbated agriculture as well as pastoral production. Amidst the challenges, herders are innovative and have started responding these recent changes. They have introduced new fodder and crop varieties in agriculture and selected the suitable breeds of livestocks to suit in wide range of climatic conditions. They have changed mobility and route to pasture and started making storage pond to cope with water scarcity. Moreover, migratory herding enables herders utilize resources at different ecological zones. Therefore, some herders have adopted intensive herding as alternative of agriculture. Dependence on wider resources of various ecological regions for agriculture and herding has provided them more safety otherwise; they would be suffered a lot. Therefore, their knowledge of utilizing diverse resources, innovativeness against environmental changes, if integrated in development and policy, could be a promising option and model for climate change adaptation.
The presentation can be downloaded here in pdf format.