Perceptions of climate variability and livelihood adaptations relating to gender and wealth among the Adi community of the Eastern Indian Himalayas

Ranjay K. Singh, Kerstin K. Zander, Satyendra Kumar, Anshuman Singh, Parvender Sheoran, Arvind Kumar, S. M. Hussain, Toge Riba, Orik Rallen, Y. J. Lego, Egul Padung, Stephen T. Garnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The impacts of extreme weather events and climate variability on natural resource dependent farmers will further increase their vulnerability. This study describes how Adi farmers in Arunachal Pradesh (India) perceive and adapt to climate variability, and how this is influenced by gender and wealth. A total of 65 male and 71 female Adi farmers were interviewed or participated in focus group discussions. Both men and women have noticed there are fewer rainy days, longer summers, shorter winters and more erratic rainfall. However, some perceptions of change were gender and/or wealth class specific. Adi women noticed changes across areas they control including collecting forest foods, crop harvesting, and fermenting and storing of food. Men noted climate variability had made hunting wild game and marketing agricultural produce more difficult. Wealthy people were better placed to adapt to climate variability than poorer people because they could intensify their production systems. They switched to rainfed maize with improved varieties and horticultural cash crops which need more costly inputs. Wealthy people, particularly men, also received more advice and training than poorer people. Poorer farmers, particularly poor women, adapted predominantly by diversifying activities, such as using drought tolerant oil seeds and subsistence horticultural crops, accessing forest-based resources, rearing pigs and poultry, increasing fishing and the making of handicrafts. Storage, exchange and pooling of local resources were further strategies of the poor. This deeper understanding of Adi livelihood adaptation strategies will help increase their resilience by improving targeting of location specific extension services and adaptation policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-52
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Geography
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


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