Regional Sustainability ›› 2023, Vol. 4 ›› Issue (4): 378-389.doi: 10.1016/j.regsus.2023.11.001

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How Himalayan communities are changing cultivation practices in the context of climate change

SUBEDI Ashma, RAUT Nani(), GURUNG Smriti   

  1. Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel, Kavre, 45200, Nepal
  • Received:2023-02-17 Revised:2023-06-13 Accepted:2023-11-05 Online:2023-12-30 Published:2024-01-09
  • Contact: RAUT Nani


Climate change can have significant impacts on crop yields and food security. This study assessed the linkages between climate change and crop yields to obtain a better understanding on the drivers of food security. The study was conducted in Pasagaun village of Lamjung District in Nepal, where household surveys and focus group discussions (FGDs) were used to collect data including crop cultivation, irrigation facilities, and adaptation strategies. Moreover, climate data (temperature and precipitation) from 1992 to 2020 were collected from the Khudi Bazar meteorological station and crop yield data were obtained from the Agri-Business Promotion and Statistics Division. Trend analysis of temperature and precipitation was conducted using Mann-Kendall trend test and Sen’s slope method, and the results showed an increase in the average temperature of approximately 0.02°C/a and a decrease in the annual precipitation of 9.84 mm/a. The cultivation of traditional varieties of rice and foxtail millet (Kaguno) has vanished. Although, there was no significant impact of the maximum temperature on the yield of rice and maize, the regression analysis revealed that there are negative relationships between rice yield and annual minimum temperature (r= -0.44), between millet yield and annual precipitation (r= -0.30), and between maize yield and annual minimum temperature (r= -0.31), as well as positive relationship between rice yield and annual precipitation (r=0.16). Moreover, average rice yield and millet yield have decreased by 27.0% and 57.0% in 2000-2020, respectively. Despite other reasons for the decrease in crop yield such as the lack of irrigation facilities, out-migration of farmer, and increased pest infestation, respondents have adopted adaptation strategies (for example, shifts in cultivation time and changes in crop types) to minimize the impacts of climate change. More investigation and community-based farming education are needed to understand and alleviate the harmful impacts of climate change on crop yield, as effective adaptation coping strategies are still insufficient. This study provides insights into the adaptation strategies that are necessary to keep food security in the face of climate change.

Key words: Climate change, Crop yield, Adaptation strategies, Farming practices, Food security, Nepal