Local perceptions of climate change validated by scientific evidence in the Himalayas
Pashupati Chaudhary and Kamaljit S. Bawa
Biology Letters, 27 April 2011, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0269

For this study, researchers conducted an analysis based on 250 household interviews administered in 18 villages and focused group discussions conducted in 10 additional villages in Darjeeling Hills, West Bengal, India and Ilam district of Nepal. They reported on a widespread feeling that weather was getting warmer, the water sources were drying up, the onset of summer and monsoon had advanced during last 10 years and there was less snow on mountains than before. Local perceptions of the impact of climate change on biodiversity included early budburst and flowering, new agricultural pests and weeds and appearance of mosquitoes. People at high altitudes appear more sensitive to climate change than those at low altitudes. The researchers confirmed that most local perceptions are consistent and can be verified scientifically. They propose that local knowledge can be rapidly and efficiently gathered using systematic tools. Such knowledge can allow scientists to test specific hypotheses, and policy makers to design mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate change, especially in an extraordinarily important part of our world that is experiencing considerable change. Read the abstract … Read a commentary on the research published in Science Now Read a post on the research by Richard Black on BBC’s Earth Watch

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