Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture
Climate change is one of the biggest and urgent issues of the present world and overwhelming scientific consensus is concerned with climate change. The earth’s climate is rapidly changing mainly as a result of increase in greenhouse gases caused by human activities. Over the last 100 years (1906-2005), global temperature has increased by 0.74°C and it is expected to increase by about 0.2°C per decade over the next two decade (IPCC 2007). For developing countries like Nepal, it is not just an environmental phenomenon but also an economic, social and political issue. Nepal is among the most vulnerable countries on earth with regard to climate change however, emission of green house gas in Nepal is very negligible as compared to the developed countries. There are tremendous negative impacts of climate change in Nepal but the level of understanding and awareness on the issue is very limited yet. Climate change already has a measurable impact on many natural and human systems. Climate change scenarios for Nepal showed considerable convergence on continued warming, with country averaged mean temperature increases of 1.2 °C and 3 °C projected by 2050 and 2100 (Shrestha et. al,.1999). Climate change is increasingly accepted as a major issue the Nepalese people are facing. The Initial National Communication of Nepal to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and a range of recent studies show that Nepal is highly vulnerable to the potential negative impacts of climate change. These studies have indicated that in Nepal, significant warming particularly at higher elevations will lead to reduction in snow and ice coverage; will create an increase in frequency of climate induced disasters including flooding and droughts; and cause an uneven precipitation distribution over the regional scale (Gum 2009). In the past decade in Nepal the damage is increasingly evident and has initiated arable land lost to flood and erosion, erratic changes in monsoon, water shortages and drought events; growing threats from Glacial Lake Outburst Floods, disappearing forests in some areas; invasion of exotic species, outbreak of diseases, sharp and sustained decline in food security and threats to biodiversity. These climate induced risks and hazards can have wide ranging, often unanticipated, effects on the environment and on socio-economic and development related sectors, including agriculture and food security, biodiversity, water resources, energy, human health, urban settlement, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (NCVST, 2009; WFP, 2009). There is clear evidence that climate change is already affecting the biodiversity and weakling the livelihood assets of poor and marginalized communities. The Research Problem
Climate Change is currently one of the greatest threats to environmental conservation and livelihood security in Nepal. An increased emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is further compounding these problems. Poor people, women, and marginalized communities are highly vulnerable (OXFAM 2009) to climate change impacts. Due to climate change environment and related sectors including water resources, farming system, human health, terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity are facing various adverse impacts in Nepal. The effects of climate change are expected to deepen poverty and affect livelihoods, assets, infrastructure, environmental resources and economic growth (Gaire et al. 2008). Thus, in order to secure their livelihoods, it is imperative that climate change issues be addresses as a key development concern. In Nepal lack of research and credible evidence on the impacts of climate change is a major challenge. There is limited understanding on such basic issues as the nature and scale of impacts of climate change on farming system and livelihood aspect including the adaptive strategies.
Nepal demonstrates diverse geo-physical and climatic conditions within...
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