Responses of the Tharu to climate change-related hazards in the water sector: Indigenous perceptions, vulnerability and adaptations in the western Tarai of Nepal

Buddhi R. Chaudhary, Greg Acciaioli, William Erskine, Pashupati Chaudhary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate change perceptions of Indigenous peoples (IP) are important because of their close connection with nature and the environment. This study assesses climate change insights of the Tharu in Bardiya district of Nepal in relation to climate variability and water sector-related hazards, focussing on Indigenous knowledge (IK) for adaptation and mitigation in agriculture. Tharu are the first settlers in Tarai, Nepal and largely depend on farming. Our sequential mixed-method approach first quantifies perceptions and then analyses qualitative information from participatory methods. We found the Tharu have perceived a temperature increase but a rainfall decrease; the former is validated with weather data, but not the rainfall trend due to high annual variation. The high ranking of flooding in both villages and drought in Bikri indicates the importance of the water sector and related hazards. Tharu have used Indigenous as well as scientific knowledge for weather predictions, coping and adaptation to water-related hazards in agriculture-based livelihoods. As the application of IK-based traditional agricultural practices has decreased due to their lower yield than modern agricultural practices, there is need for documentation, research and policy actions to integrate IK and science to reduce climatic vulnerability and increase productivity of resilient agricultural practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)816-829
Number of pages14
JournalClimate and Development
Volume13
Issue number9
Early online date25 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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