The Hindu: Climatic change can have serious implications on resources and livelihoods in the Indian subcontinent. Increases in temperature and changes in precipitation can directly impact agriculture, which is considered a backbone of the Indian economy. Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change (IPCC) has compiled extensive scientific information on the impacts of climatic change on the earth system.
There is consistent agreement that climatic change can impact seasons and variability in precipitation. This has serious implications on the hydrologic cycle of the Indian subcontinent. Some potential impacts expected on frequent droughts, changes in rainfall intensity, sediment in runoff water, increased contamination in water bodies, invasive species, and increase in pest incidence.
In a seminar at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University recently, O. Timothy Randhir, an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts, the United State of America, highlighted the need for pro-active and co-operative efforts towards adapting to climatic change. Socio-ecological systems (SES) involve social and ecological components that define particular governance unit or eco-system. These include agricultural regions, forests, wetlands, urban ecosystems, river basins, aquatic ecosystems, and other governing units (farms, villages, towns, and regions), which are especially vulnerable to climatic impacts.
The impacts can be direct through response to changes in temperature and precipitation or indirect through multiple responses that affect SES.
Managing the impacts as a system rather than in a piece-meal fashion is particularly important to increase the sustainability of the SES systems. Adaptation to climatic change requires a bottom-approach though incorporation of resilience measures at local scale. In addition, regional efforts to increase incentives for such local become important.
Some resilience enhancing measures in agriculture include runoff reducing practices like buffer strips, on site water conservation, changes in cropping systems, use of native species, and integrated pest management. Urban areas can reduce effective impervious cover through increasing urban forestry, increased open space, clustered development, and water conservation, he said.
There is a need for development of adaptation funds to deal with climatic impacts.
Adaptive management of SES should include these funds to support emergency and disaster conditions at multiple scales.
Local decisions are made by farmers, homeowners, and private decision makers who need to understand their SES connection to higher scales (neighbourhoods, river basins, village economies, and regions). Such multi-scale approach will be useful in increasing the resilience of landscapes and ecosystems in the Indian subcontinent to deal with climatic impacts, he added.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on the mountain and climate related issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last two years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>