Climate change resilient agricultural practices: A learning experience from indigenous communities over India

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Amitava Aich, Arindam Roy, Dipayan Dey


The impact of climate change on agricultural practices is rising question marks on future food security of billions of people in tropical and sub-tropical region. Recently introduced, Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) techniques encourages the practices of sustainable agriculture, increasing adaptive capacity and resilience to shocks at multiple levels. However, in reality, it is extremely difficult to develop a single framework for climate change resilient agricultural practices for different agrarian production landscape. Agriculture accounts for nearly 30% of Indian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provide livelihood of nearly two-third of the population of the country. With 60% of the agricultural land still depends on rain-fed irrigation, agrarian production economy of India has become extremely vulnerable to the monsoonal anomaly, heat stress, pest invasion and increasing rate of extreme events in upcoming decades. Due to their close relationship with environment and resources, indigenous people are considered as one of the most vulnerable community due to the changing climate. In the milieu of the climate emergency, we have selected multiple indigenous tribes from different agro-ecological zones over India in the present study to explore the adaptive potential of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge (ITK) based agricultural practices against climate change. The selected tribes are inhabitants of eastern Himalaya (Apatani), western Himalaya (Lahaulas), Eastern Ghat (Dongria-Gondh) and Western Ghat (Irular) representing rainforest, cold desert, moist upland and rain shadow landscape respectively. The effect of climate change over the respective regions has been identified using different IPCC scenario and agricultural practices resilient to climate change are quantified. Primary results indicate moderate to extreme susceptibility and preparedness of the tribes against climate change due to the exceptionally adaptive ITK based agricultural practices. A policy brief has been prepared where knowledge exchange and technology transfer among the indigenous tribes have been suggested to achieve complete climate change resiliency.



Agriculture, Biodiversity, Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment, Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Sciences, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Sustainability


Agro-forestry, Climate change adaptation, Climate Smart Agriculture, Indigenous practices, Sustainable agriculture


Published: 2019-10-06 23:02

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