Vol16 No.11: 2625-2639
【Title】Climate change has more adverse impacts on the higher mountain communities than the lower ones: people’s perception from the northern Himalayas
【Author】HUANG Xiao-hui1; ZHOU Yao-zhi2,3*; FANG Jiang-ping2,3; HOU Lei 3,4
【Addresses】1 Tibet Agriculture & Animal Husbandry University, Linzhi 8600, China; 2 Research Institute of Tibet Plateau Ecology, Tibet Agriculture & Animal Husbandry University, Linzhi 8600, China; 3 United Key Laboratories of Ecological Security, Tibet Autonomous Region, Linzhi 8600, China; 4 Resources & Environment College, Tibet Agriculture & Animal Husbandry University, Linzhi 8600, China
【Corresponding author】ZHOU Yao-zhi
【Citation】Huang XH, Zhou YZ, Fang JP, et al. (2019) Climate change has more adverse impacts on the higher mountain communities than the lower ones: people’s perception from the northern Himalayas. Journal of Mountain Science 16(11). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-018-5352-0
【Abstract】The Himalayas are assumed to experience rapid climate change, with serious environmental, social and economic consequences for people living in and around the mountain area. However, the extent of climate change and its impact on the region are underexplored, especially on northern slope of the mountains. Based on local knowledge, we report perceived changes in climate and consequences of such changes for natural andsocial systems. The respondents in this study were distributed at a continuous elevation gradient of 3570-4646 m above sea level in the northern Himalayas. Therefore, it is possible to analyze the process of the shift of bioclimate zones under climate change and the differences in climate change effects cross altitudes.Among those in the pastoral area (Zhegu town) with an altitude of 4600 m, 91.2% (n=114) of the respondents believe that the climate is obviously changing; the ratio of reporting rainfall decreasing is 77.2% (n=114); those who perceive delayed rainy season, and increased climate change-related natural disasters account for 38.9% (n=113), 72.8% (n=103), respectively; more than two thirds (70.3%) (n=111) view drought as the biggest challenge to address climate change, and more than half (59.3%) (n=113) of the respondents believe that the impact of climate change is mainly negative. All these data rank first among the four survey areas (Zhegu town/pastoral region, Nedong County/crop growing regions, Zhanang County/crop growing region and Nagarze County/farming-pastoral region). Due to climate warming, Labidura riparia spreads to a higher altitude in the basins in Nedong County (Shannan City, Tibet) and Zhanang County (Shannan City, Tibet) at the rate of 31.1±6.4 m/a and 46.7±8.8 m/a, respectively in elevation. Most of the respondents view the natural variability as the main cause of climate changes, only 10.7%-29.0% among them view human activities as the main reason. Key challenges for local people to address climate change include droughts and economic hardship. Most local perceptions conform to scientific data. Comparative analysis of people’s perception of climate change impacts in different regions of the Himalayas will enhance the understanding of climate change effects on the whole region.
【Keywords】Northern Himalayan; Climate change; Perception; Elevation gradient; Tibet